$25 Million for Capturing Carbon
A multi-million dollar prize is on offer to anyone who can invent a device that will remove significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As one of the largest science prizes on offer, it is likely to attract huge interest globally in a bid to combat climate change.
The initiative was launched today by British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and former US Vice-President Al Gore in London.
The US$25 million "Virgin Earth Challenge" Prize can be claimed for any invention that will remove "significant" amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - perhaps in the order of a billion tonnes a year. Current global emissions are more than 7 billion tonnes per year.
"The winner must be able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric, greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects," state the written rules of the competition. It must "contribute materially to the stability of the Earth's climate".
The winning entry could be anything from manufacturing bacteria to install in industrial emissions pipes, to creating a system that buries CO2 underground, or even inventing artificial trees to breathe in the gas from the air.