What would the biggest challenges to competing in this prize be?

XPRIZEXPRIZE Los Angeles, CaliforniaPosts: 193 admin
edited April 2019 in Prize Design
Please click here to review a rough draft of what a broad, technology agnostic prize design could look like. Please note that this is strictly a draft version meant to stimulate discussion. It in no way reflects a decision of or commitment by XPRIZE to move forward with this type of design.

Pick a CDR technology or solution pathway you’re working on or supportive of.
  • Would that technology or pathway be able to compete successfully given the metrics and structure articulated in this prize design? Which metric(s) might be challenging for you? Why?
  • Are there alternative metrics or criteria we could use in a broad or technology agnostic prize design that might alleviate this problem?
We look forward to all of your ideas and feedback on this draft prize design concept!


  • peterkpeterk Posts: 7
    This looks pretty good. Though scale-able CDR via carbon mineralization in peridotite is not currently demonstrated, I think that technology could compete for this prize, and that the prize could offer an incentive for significant advancement. I am pleasantly surprised.
  • jamesburbridgejamesburbridge Posts: 49 XPRIZE
    Thanks @peterk, we're continually working on new iterations of the prize, so stay tuned for those.

    On the mineralization approach, what might a competition team look like as far as approach? Pumping into underground reservoirs for mineralization, or grinding up rock to spread over agricultural land? Is there one approach that seems more likely to compete than others? How capital intensive would an advanced weathering/mineralization project look like? That's hard for me to get my head around since there aren't any current demonstrations, like you said above.
  • peterkpeterk Posts: 7
    Replying to jamesburbridge: I think different teams might compete, both from the surficial weathering and in situ perspectives. The infrastructure for in situ can be expensive; there are a lot of capital expenses that are the same if you are doing 1000 tons of CO2 per year or 100,000. No one is sure, because CarbFix got in-kind support from Reykjavik Energy, but Phase I might have cost ca $20M. Surficial weathering pilots could be substantially cheaper, but unless someone comes up with a clever idea, the area footprint for 1 Gt/yr is really big.
  • jamesburbridgejamesburbridge Posts: 49 XPRIZE
    Thanks @peterk that is useful framing. I've got on my to-do list to reach out to Project Vesta to learn more about their "green sand" project. Is there anyone else out there you think would be useful for us to talk to?
  • ghraughrau Posts: 4
    Glad that tech agnostic competition is proposed, but are we really ready to select, from YR 2020 entrants, potential CDR winners 46 years from now? Hence, the competition duration is way too long. Suggest a 5-10 yr 2 phase competition after which addition competitions can be conducted to search for newly emerging tech and to test out preceding winners at big scales, etc. Given the way technology evolves (unpredictably and not in a straight line), open competition should be an ongoing process (in the absence of otherwise motivating market forces). See my suggested comments/edits in the google drive doc (do they even show up? let me know). Glad that CDR/land area will be one of the judging criteria - my favorite marine CDR will then win every time ;-)

    Further background: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0445-5.epdf

    and join our CDR google group https://groups.google.com/group/CarbonDioxideRemoval

    Thanks, Greg
  • DanSelzDanSelz Los AngelesPosts: 60 admin
    hi @ghrau , thanks so much for reviewing this draft! Very sorry for the ambiguity (and this is on us for not making it more clear) but what we were actually proposing was a four to six year prize. Completely agreee that a forty six year prize would be too long.

    Unfortuntaely, I can't see comments you made in the online pdf...maybe if it's showing up on your end you could export and email to me ([email protected]?)

    Thanks again!
  • ghraughrau Posts: 4
    Dan, My suggested edits are saved to the google drive in recent docs, "owned by anyone", but may not be easy to distinguish. I see no way of renaming the doc. Good idea to be crystal clear how you want peoples edits to be submitted, so that none get lost or fall between the cracks.
  • josephjjamesjosephjjames Posts: 8 ✭✭
    The draft looks pretty good.

    However, given the need to substantially reduce CO 2, in the next 10-15 years, there is a need for independent data on the relative CO 2 uptake potential of various strategies.

    For example, a UC Berkeley researcher has found that a 100-acre plot of biomass sorghum will extract 3 times the CO 2 that a 100-acre stand of newly-planted pine trees would. While I am all for afforestation, consideration should be given for strategies that have the most-near-term impact.

    Also, a more reasonable measure of a demonstration should not only be for total tons a strategy removes, but a reasonable demonstration of tons removed/per dollar spent, by strategies which have the potential to scale.

    And, there should be no maximum land use limitation, to the extent that the CO 2 uptake activities on large pieces of land are also carrying out other important environmental or social activities, especially those which are generating revenues or qualify for subsidies, which might offset or minimize CO 2 capture costs.

    In addition, extra consideration should be given for strategies which reuse and/or sequester the captured carbon in ways which can lessen new CO 2 emissions, such as using that carbon in high-performing, circular economy plastics and composites, which can be used to make strong but lighter and therefore, more fuel efficient cars and planes. Or, using captured carbon to make a clean and renewable bio-coal, which could be co-fired in the remaining coal-fired plants to reduce both pollution and new CO 2 emissions.

    Finally, the Grand Prize winner should demonstrate the most cost-effective process, not just the one which has captured the most CO 2. And, environmentally-beneficial reuse of the captured carbon should be given a higher priority than simply sequestering it.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
  • DanSelzDanSelz Los AngelesPosts: 60 admin
    Hi @josephjjames , thanks so much for your detailed feedback here! Really appreciate it. I tend to agree with your point about land use. One follow-up question: you mention judgin a "reasonable demonstration of tons removed/per dollar spent". It's an idea we're certainly thinking about; we're also considering "tons removed/per total net cost or profit" in other words, allowing teams to spend more money on the capture and still win IF their solutions create more long term economic value. Is profit more important than cost? What do you think?
  • NickAzerNickAzer Portland, OR, USAPosts: 219 ✭✭
    Thank you @josephjjames @ghrau and @peterk for all of your input so far! We have two new threads - on minimum carbon dioxide captured and on prioritizing the metrics. Any feedback you might have on those threads would be awesome!
Sign In or Register to comment.