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$100 Million Prize To Develop planet-warming emissions Technology: Elon Musk

Carbon capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, a broad mix of technologies with the same aim: collecting carbon dioxide so it doesn’t escape into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. The greenhouse gas can be captured from power plants and factories, or even directly from the air.

The challenge is on how to cut the emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air. Tesla chief Elon Musk on Thursday took to Twitter to promise a $100 million prize for development of the “best” technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions. Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air.

 

What Musk is describing is not science fiction. There are at least three startups — Canada’s Carbon Engineering, Switzerland’s Climeworks, and the U.S.’s Global Thermostat — that have each built working pilot plants to capture carbon dioxide from the air. Carbon Engineering has even made a small batch of synthetic fuel from CO₂.

Sources said, Dyson, who has been working on the criteria for a direct air capture award, says he would love to work with Musk on his prize.

The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets. “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” Musk wrote in a tweet, followed by a second tweet that promised “Details next week.”

 

Musk, who co-founded and sold Internet payments company PayPal Holdings Inc, now leads some of the most futuristic companies in the world.