Elon Musk is putting his money on the line in mankind's battle against global warming.
Earlier this year, the billionaire entrepreneur announced he’d be offering $100 million in prize money to inventors who can come up with an efficient method of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or ocean.
On Earth Day, he laid down some ground rules for the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition.
Participants must demonstrate solutions that can pull CO2 directly from the atmosphere or oceans and sequester it durably and sustainably.
It’s a process known as carbon capture, and it’s already possible — though it’s expensive and not presently commercially viable.
According to a report by Reuters, removing carbon can cost more than $300 per metric tonne. Each year, mankind produces greenhouse gases equivalent to about 50 billion tonnes of CO2.
"Both cost and scalability need to be addressed. Is it going to be enough carbon to matter, and can we afford it as a civilization? Those are two things that matter," Musk said on a video posted to the XPRIZE YouTube account.
Winners will have demonstrated a working solution at a scale of at least 1,000 tonnes of CO2 removed per year, model their costs at a scale of 1 million tonnes removed per year, and show a pathway to achieving a scale of gigatonnes per year in the future, the XPRIZE Foundation website states.
The grand prize winner will take home $50 million while $30 million is distributed among three runners up. Student teams will be eligible for up to $5 million in prize money.
Earlier last week, XPRIZE announced two winners of a separate competition with a $20 million prize for contestants who developed products from greenhouse gas that flows from power plants.
According to the Associated Press, Los Angeles-based CarbonBuilt and Canada-based CarbonCure Technologies made concrete that trapped CO2, keeping it out of the atmosphere.
This story was reported from Atlanta.