Musk offers $100 million prize for carbon capture technologies

The billionaire may be betting on carbon capture technologies to combat climate change.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Elon Musk intends to offer $100 million to a successful project resulting in viable carbon capture technologies. 

Musk, the CEO of Tesla & SpaceX and an entrepreneur who briefly took over from Amazon's Jeff Bezos as the world's richest person earlier this month, made the pledge in a tweet on Thursday. 

The concrete details of the "prize" for the "best" offering are due to be announced next week.

"Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology," Musk said, which suggests that more than this amount may be on offer, overall.

Carbon capture is a concept focused on the capture of carbon dioxide emissions produced by manufacturing, vehicles, and food production, among other industries. 

A human population of billions, deforestation, the destruction of natural habitats, a lack of care toward our oceans, and the transformation of land for housing and the rearing of livestock have all contributed to the problem of global warming. 

Global warming is expected to create climate refugees, diminish water and food supplies, trigger extreme weather events, and cause sea levels to rise. 

Rolling back and attempting to tackle the damage we have already caused to our environment are ways to try and reduce the levels of carbon in the atmosphere, and to date, little progress has been made in terms of technology designed to contribute to the effort. 

The concept, as explored by Vox, could involve burying carbon in saline aquifers or air scrubbing, but for technologies in this area to be developed, potential profit in the eyes of the investor needs to be a factor. As such, carbon capture technology could focus on carbon capture and utilization (CCU), in which carbon dioxide is used, in some way, to develop products or services.

The creation of effective carbon capture technologies -- alongside environment recovery initiatives -- could help countries meet their obligations in the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on fighting climate change. 

Hours after becoming America's latest president, Joe Biden signed an executive order returning the US to the accord, after former US President Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2017.

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