About the Clean Air Prize Design

XPRIZE Community members advised on the design of a prize to eliminate or drastically reduce air pollution, sponsored by The Circle Foundation.

About the Prize Design

XPRIZE is excited to officially kick-off the design process for our new Clean Air Prize Design. This is an ambitious initiative sponsored by The Circle Foundation, which is motivated to accelerate the pace of technological innovation to drastically reduce the amount of pollution related to fine particulate matter in South Korea and throughout the world.

Our research and these discussions will ultimately lead to the Prize Design which will provide the outline of what the winning team must accomplish to be awarded the prize.

This forum will explore the latest news, innovations, efforts, technologies, and ideas for how to tackle this daunting problem. We invite all knowledgeable and interested people to participate in an exchange of ideas, Q&A, brainstorming, and sharing of topical information.

We need you in this effort to resolve one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Together we can give life to ideas that will provide clean air for people all over the world. We look forward to conversing with you here.

The Challenge

As economies have grown and nations developed, man-made emissions from increased industrial and urban activity have led to an explosion of anthropogenic emissions, especially fine particulate matter. An estimated 4 billion individuals live with hazardous levels of air contamination, most of which live in Asia. In China, air contamination kills more than 1 million individuals annually and costs the Chinese economy more than $37 billion per year. The Korean National Institute of Environmental Research reported record-breaking PM 2.5 measurements in seven South Korean cities over the course of a single week in the past year. Current efforts to reduce global air pollution are insufficient to combat atmospheric pollution.

The Goal

The goal of this XPRIZE is to achieve breakthroughs either in technology or innovation that will lead to scalable elimination or a dramatic reduction of the amount of air pollution related to fine particulate matter and to make these innovations accessible globally.


This Prize Design is lead by @TerryMulligan, @jamesburbridge and @JessicaYoon. @Shashi is the community manager.

Your Role

As a member of our global online community of experts, you will have the chance to share your knowledge and experiences, discuss promising innovations, and influence the evolution of the Clean Air Prize Design.

What’s in it for you

We know your time is precious, and we greatly appreciate your participation and input. In addition to the knowledge of your contribution to transformative breakthroughs, community participation also allows you to:

  • Network with diverse stakeholders
  • Brainstorm with top experts
  • Promote your work
  • Earn prizes, such as online gift cards and XPRIZE gift boxes
  • Be considered for blogs and podcasts

Brilliant: this has the opportunity to improve the health of millions of people across the planet, and to extend many lives.

Thanks Akb. @akb

There is an urgent need to address the ubiquitous PM air quality problems on a global scale. Such a Prize can certainly move things materially in the right direction. As the former Clean Fuels Officer at the SCAQMD, I would be pleased to participate in some fashion in the framing of this competition.

Thanks @paulwuebben for participating in the community.
We would love to have your inputs on the Key Issues discussed in the community and the existing solutions analysed.

Nice day - I’m very please to be in position to share my idea co-incidentally on this project. This is something near and dear to me and I have been addressing this issue with a solution having it’s origins as a patent proposal to the administration innovation authority here initially in 2011. Since then this idea coinsides with the aim of this X-Prize in a proactive way. I am happy to put forward a pneumatic capacitor / battery is a energy conservation and storage technology innovation which is pending in process and promoted with incumbent patrons. This revenue generating solution eliminates particulate emissions with a broad range of actions in energy and industry targeting over three gigatons of carbon emission for impact such as cement production and incinerator renewable energy production. Happy to be onboard.

Welcome to the community Stefan @ShwayComs
Thanks for sharing this interesting technology.
@TerryMulligan, @psilveyra, @cnoonan you may like to share your views on Stephan’s solution.

Hi! Im glad to see a challenge targeting air quality come up in XPrize. I was curious why this prize would be looking at just fine particulate matter and not also chemical pollutants that are floating around in the air? Also, would the goal of this challenge be more of a preventative strategy (reduce or limit the amount entering the air in the first place) or is it a how to deal with it (reducing the amount of pollutants on an individual “like those dust masks people wear” level or an area “like those HEPA filter units” level ). I can see in places like south korea, the preventative strategy will be hard because the pollution is coming from china (alot from the desert winds) which south korea has no control over. On the how to deal with the pollution side, wouldnt this give the most freedom for people in Korea to deal with the pollution that they have to deal with? Anyways, one reason why i mentioned about the chemical pollution side first is that there isnt a great way to deal with it now (the best solution atm is plants with the second best solution being Activated Carbon which isnt that great of a solution because they are used then thrown out) and i feel like if this competition includes chemical pollutants, people will be drawn to coming up with a creative solution that includes it. Thanks for reading this far on my rant. Im just passionate about air quality! :wink:

Good points @Swils100
I too would like to see chemical side of pollutants addressed. They account for several adverse health effects and produce secondary pollutants (ozone in photochemical smog) which also impact health and the environment.

Hi @Swils100
As particulate matter is impacting health in a big way and have been classified as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, we are trying to address this Issue. But we will definitely be taking into consideration the chemical component of the pollution as well.

We have a discussion on Air Pollution and Waste Removal, wherein we are trying to understand whether we can treat the captured NOx or SOx from pollution either to make it useful in other application or neutralize it. Your inputs would be helpful.

@Swils100 @akb Thanks for bringing that up. We are definitely taking gaseous air pollutants (O3, SOx, NOx, CO, and NH3) into consideration since they serve as effective pre-cursors to PM. Stay tuned for more details about potential prize design directions!

Dear Professor Simonyu, @Simonyu What if your indoor pollution drone’s set of high voltage screens that kills mosquitoes in contact, could be greatly expanded upon, to eliminate Malaria contagion by mosquitoes in general? There’s a ‘Nothing But Nets’ charity, which pesters everyone on the Internet for funds, to purchase pesticide-soaked nettings, for poor nation natives to drape over their sleeping spots, so that these nets kill off mosquitoes trying to get inside to bite these people, so that these bugs cannot give them the Malaria disease? Look, there is a Nickel/Titanium ‘memory’ alloy called Nitinol, which has a lot of applications in the electronics industry, (In one ‘Iron Man’ movie, his armor suit was made of this Nitinol alloy!), so, what if we made a very fine Nitinol wire nettings, to be distributed by ‘Nothing But Nets’, BUT instead of being soaked with the $Costly$ pesticide to kill off the mosquitoes, it has a small, hand-rechargeable battery or Tesla coil, which is wired into this metallic conductive netting, and we make it a ‘smart’ netting? That is, there is a VERY low power electric voltage sent through this thing, which acts as a unilateral electronic sensor, When it detects mosquitoes landing on it, the bugs disrupts this circuit, so this electronic package detects their physical contact, and then it ZAPS that section of the Nitinol netting with a HIGH voltage electrical jolt, killing them off, WITHOUT using any costly, and potentially toxic, pesticide soaking of the netting. No need to keep buying new anti-bug nettings over and over, this thing will last and work many years, without the bug pesticide that is the economic stumbling block of this charity. You can have this idea GRATIS, Professor Simonyu, because I just feel so darn guilty when I see this charity plea in my email inbox, and I don’t have any disposable income to donate to anything these days. Best Regards, Robert Schreib