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In a land far, far away…

A man named Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, made an announcement on Twitter on January 21: “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” he wrote, followed by another Tweet: “Details next week.”

He joined forces with the XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and launching incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, resulting in the $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal sponsored by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation.

They started a four-year global competition that challenges innovators and teams from anywhere on the planet to create and demonstrate a solution that can capture carbon and lock it away permanently in an environmentally benign way. Any carbon negative solution is eligible: nature-based, direct air capture, oceans, mineralization, or anything else that achieves net negative emissions, sequesters CO2 durably.

So, how does it work?

In the first phase of the competition, teams must demonstrate the key component of their carbon removal solution, at a minimum. After the first 18 months, at the discretion of the competition judges, the 15 top teams were selected that receive $1 million each. Milestone Awards will kickstart team fundraising for their operating budgets to achieve the full-scale demonstrations required to win the prize.

To win the grand prize, teams must demonstrate a working solution at a scale of at least 1000 tons removed per year; model their costs at a scale of 1 million tons per year; and show a pathway to achieving a scale of gigatons per year in future. After four years, the remaining $80M in Purses will be distributed as follows:

No need to tell Carbyon twice

Yes, the XPRIZE and Elon triggered us and we felt challenged. With no doubt we enrolled in the competition although we were just with a team of … persons in the middle of the COVID pandemic. We had to speed up our process and answer questions that we never thought of before. The first phase required us to hand in large piles of information about our technology, the foreseen positive and negative impacts, life cycle analysis and business cases. On the 31st of January 2022 we filed our participation, but we were not alone. It appeared that there were over 1400 other registered teams! Well, the only thing we could do was sit back work and wait.

Participants XPrize


Without any expectations, Hans and Marco had a meeting with the XPRIZE organization. They completely surprised them with the news that Carbyon is selected as one of the 15 Milestone Award Winners! This video says more than words can describe.

Stay up-to-date

Follow our team and our progress on the XPRIZE on our LinkedIn page or visit us during one of the events that we are invited to – also to be found on our LinkedIn page.