Elon Musk promises $100-mn prize for best carbon capture tech: Know details

Topics Elon Musk | Tesla | Carbon dioxide

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc. (Photo: Bloomberg)
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, now the world's richest person with a net worth north of $180 billion, announced on Twitter that he planned to give away $100 million as prize for the "best carbon capture technology."

He added in a subsequent tweet that he would provide more details next week, so it is not yet clear how such a contest will work.

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.

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

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021

Details next week

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021

What is carbon sequestration?

Carbon dioxide is the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.

Carbon capture explained

Carbon dioxide or CO2 is released by burning fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes such as cement production. Carbon can be captured using different methods. The main ones are: post-combustion, pre-combustion and oxyfuel. Post-combustion technology removes CO2 from the flue gases that result from burning fossil fuels. Pre-combustion methods – carried out before burning the fossil fuel – involve converting the fuel into a mixture of hydrogen and CO2.

How can carbon capture help tackle climate change

Carbon capture can help reduce emissions from large industrial installations. When combined with bioenergy technologies for power generation, it has the potential to generate ‘negative emissions’, removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Many scientists and policymakers argue that this is crucial if the world is to limit temperature rise to under 2 degree C, the goal of the Paris Agreement.

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