It has been over a year since Elon Musk announced his $100 million XPrize carbon removal competition. XPrize, the company handling the $100 million reward, recently announced that 287 teams are eligible to win the competition’s fifteen $1 million Milestone Awards, separate from the main prize purse.
XPrize chose 287 teams out of the 1,133 teams that joined Elon Musk’s carbon removal competition this round for the Milestone Awards.
“The submission requirements for the Milestone Awards were certainly rigorous and extensive. Teams were required to demonstrate a working carbon removal solution, estimate cost at full scale, and make a case and a plan for scaling and deploying their solutions at megatin and gigaton per year capacity – the scale relevant to move the needle on climate change,” noted XPrize.
Two of the teams eligible for the $1 million Milestone Awards are Team Phoenix and Team Bison Underground. Team Phoenix represents Phoenix Pyrolysis. It is developing a modified gasifier to convert biomass to biochar and bioenergy.
Meanwhile, Team Bison Underground aims to increase carbon in agricultural soils by using a novel carbon injection. It argues that modern farming practices have depleted gigatonnes of carbon from agricultural soils. The team believes restoring carbon to soils would create healthier soils and require less synthetic fertilizers.
Team Bison Underground is one of the Student Award winners in the competition. XPrize awarded up to $5 million to student teams in the Fall of 2021.
The 15 Milestone Award winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. According to XPrize, the competition resets entirely after the Milestone winners are announced.
The grand prize of $50 million and $30 million runner-up awards are still up for grabs until Earth Day 2025. Teams must register and submit proof of a working carbon removal project at a scale of at least 1,000 tons per year for a chance to win the $50 million grand prize or $30 million runner-up award.