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New X Prize Challenge for Ocean Oil Cleanup

BP Deepwater Horizon Rig Fire (USCG)

(U.S. Coast Guard, Courtesy X Prize Foundation)

The X Prize Foundation unveiled today a $1.4 million challenge competition to inspire scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to develop innovative new methods for cleaning up ocean oil spills. Teams taking part are encouraged to submit ideas for cleaning up spills or leaks from ships or tankers, land drainage, waste disposal, or oil platforms, the best-known example being the BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The challenge has two phases …

1. August 2010 to April 2011. Submission of ideas and approaches, where a panel of judges from industry and academia will evaluate proposals on their technical approach, commercialization plan, extent of improvement over current technology (booms and skimmers), extent of environmental impact, scalability and ability to deploy technology, and cost and human labor required for implementation.

2. Proof of capability at the National Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility in Leonardo, New Jersey. Up to 10 of the top teams selected by the judges will demonstrate their ability to efficiently and rapidly clean up oil on the ocean surface in a head-to-head competition.

The top team that demonstrates the ability to recover oil on the sea-water surface at the highest oil recovery rate and recovery efficiency will win the $1 million first prize. Second place will win $300,000 and third place will win $100,000.

Wendy Schmidt, President of The Schmidt Family Foundation that advances development of clean energy and supports wiser uses of natural resources, is personally funding the $1.4 million in prize money. She told a press conference today in Washington, DC announcing the challenge, “With more then ten thousands of ocean oil platforms across the globe, and million of barrels of oil being transported every day by tankers, it’s not a question of ‘if’ there will be another oil spill, but ‘when.'”

8 comments to New X Prize Challenge for Ocean Oil Cleanup

  • In a perfect world we would have always gotten our power from the sun, no other resource even comes close to it in power and ease of use.

  • BP is literally banking on our “gnat-sized” attention spans and our understandable crisis fatigue to let them get away virtually scot free from any responsibility, whether financial or moral, for this massive, man made disaster. They continue to inhibit the flow of accurate information about what has and what is currently happening in the Gulf, they continue to destroy and hide evidence of their culpability, buying scientists, lawyers and politicians, even reporters. Media outlets want us to believe that the oil is largely gone or missing somehow. It may not be as visible now in some areas, but it is there continuing to suck oxygen from the water, causing huge “dead zones” — worse, the toxic dispersants used, largely against recommendations, are there too, making the oil even more dangerous. Please do not buy the media line and assume that soon the crisis will be past. Don’t let BP or Congress off the hook. They could be the only creatures on the hook in large portions of the gulf right now!

  • oil spills should be controlled as soon as possible to prevent environmental damage:.,

  • oil spills can really damage the environment so bad that it would take years to repair the damage

  • oil spills can really mess up the environment, i hope we can find a very good solution to control oil spills ~~.

  • Siegfried Mueller

    To confine the oil spill at the source, i envision a below the water surface, below wafe action encored mote that wold be released to surface encored in position and so confine the rising oil for a controlled remoovel.

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