Here’s how to apply and win Elon Musk’s $100M carbon capture technology prize



A few weeks ago Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he is donating $100M for innovating the best carbon capture technology. At the time, it was just an announcement, now further details and how to apply for the grant have emerged.

The Musk Foundation has selected to manage this fund which is the largest-ever prize for the cause donated by an individual.

XPRIZE will open registrations for the competition starting this year’s Earth Day (April 22nd, 2021) and the competition will run continuously for four years to find the best carbon capture solution. Currently, XPRIZE is only taking the email addresses of the interested persons or companies on the organization’s website that will keep you updated with the happenings and notify you as soon as the application date arrives.

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XPRIZE and Elon Musk will most likely be considering teams that are able to showcase the ability to reduce the carbon footprint on Gigaton levels. A technology capable of making a ‘truly measurable impact’ is what Musk and XPRIZE tea is looking for.

Gigaton (or gigatonne) is a unit of measuring mass that equals a billion metric tons. In other words, if an aircraft is able to carry 1 ton, it will take 10,000 aircraft carriers to lift a gigaton. The website of NASA visually explains ‘how big is a gigaton’, roughly equal to a sheet of ice placed on top of Central Park in Manhattan stacked 1,119 feet high.

The solutions presented by the participating teams will also have to be scalable and cost-effective in order to win the grant, says XPRIZE.

How To Win

XPRIZE web page for Elon Musk’s $100M donation details the following key points that can help a team win the prize.

To win the competition, teams must demonstrate a rigorous, validated scale model of their carbon removal solution, and further must demonstrate to a team of judges the ability of their solution to economically scale to gigaton levels. The objective of this XPRIZE is to inspire and help scale efficient solutions to collectively achieve the 10 gigatons per year carbon removal target by 2050, to help fight climate change and restore the Earth’s carbon balance.

Teams can submit entries across natural, engineer and hybrid solutions.  Judges in the competition will evaluate the teams based upon four basic criteria:

– A working carbon removal prototype that can be rigorously validated and capable of removing at least 1 ton per day.

– The team’s ability to demonstrate to the judges that their solution can economically scale to the gigaton level.

– The main metric for this competition is fully considered cost per ton, inclusive of whatever considerations are necessary for environmental benefit, permanence, any value-added products; and

– The final criteria is the length of time that the removed carbon is locked up for. A minimum goal of 100 years is desired.

Source: XPRIZE

It’s not too late to use human creativity, innovation, and competition to rewrite our history and create a better future for all of us on this planet we call home.

Anousheh Ansari – CEO of XPRIZE

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Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii


  1. I have an energy idea, with an equation, that could possibly have unlimited power potential. IV held on to this idea for 16years. The time is right for a new form of energy. If anyone hears this message and is interested I would like to introduce me and my idea. Timing seems to be good now…

  2. This is hilarious. It’s a win win troll.
    Elon is pretty sure carbon capture and storage is a scam and is not economically viable. If it was possible he would already have an idea for how to make it work.
    So when no one takes up the $100mill within 4 years the argument will be put to rest. If some genius does manage to come up with a solution then that’s also a win.

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