Just days after Musk became the richest person in the world – and then slid back down to second place again – he announced a new contest with a hefty prize to tackle boost carbon capture tech.
Elon Musk set sights on carbon capture technology
Elon Musk said on social media that he would be donating $100 million (approximately R1.5 billion at the time of publishing) towards the best carbon capture technology.
In essence, Musk vowed to use a little of his growing wealth – he has a net worth of $180 billion – to accelerate progress and find ways to prevent carbon dioxide pollution.
It’s not yet clear at this stage how the contest would work or which technologies and companies might qualify. Musk promised to share more details soon.
Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021
What is Carbon Capture?
Carbon capture and storage involves the utilisation and storage of carbon dioxide emissions from sources such coal-fired power plants. As a result, the carbon dioxide is reused to prevent it from entering the atmosphere.
In short, it prevents greenhouse gases from escaping from power plants and factories – which leads to pollution. Instead, it focuses on various ways of “pulling it out” of the atmosphere, so to speak.
The process isn’t all that new. About a year ago, Microsoft said it be creating a $1 billion fund (approximately R15 billion) for “carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies” to cancel out its entire historic emissions.
Boosting tech development and innovation
Word around the internet is that Musk could likely be partnering with Xprize Foundation, which “hosts competitions to encourage technology development and innovation”. TechCrunch reports:
“A person familiar with the plan has told ‘TechCrunch’ that this will be connected to Xprize Foundation; the non-profit organisation that hosts competitions aimed at encouraging technological development and innovation”.
Also read: Watch SpaceX’s first Starlink launch of 2021 here
Tunnels under flood-prone Miami
In other news, Musk had been exchanging tweets with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez about building a tunnel system under the flood-prone Florida city. They discussed “potential solutions for the benefit of our future.”
While the mayor seemed enthusiastic about the idea, others expressed their reservations. Floridians were quick to point out how shallow the water table is in the state’s swampy south.
As reported by AFP, the “exchange comes amid Suarez’s push to lure Silicon Valley investors and tech developers to Miami”. However, Kurtis Gurley, a professor of structural engineering at the University of Florida, told CBS:
“It doesn’t seem very smart and it is certainly going to be expensive” .