Elon Musk said in a tweet on Thursday that he would donate $100 million to reward the best carbon capture technology. Musk did not surpass Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man recently. He did not provide more details but added “details will be released next week” in the accompanying tweet.
Musk said that this will establish a connection with the non-profit organization Xprize Foundation, which hosts competitions aimed at encouraging technological development and innovation.
As the name suggests, a broad definition of carbon capture and storage. Waste carbon dioxide emitted by refineries or factories is collected from the source and then stored, to remove potentially harmful by-products from the environment and mitigating climate change.
This is not a new pursuit, and in the past two decades, many companies have emerged in different ways to achieve the same end goal.
Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2021
The high upfront cost of carbon capture, storage, or storage (CCS) has become a major obstacle to this technology. However, some companies have found hope in carbon capture and utilization-a cousin of CCS to convert the collected emissions into other more valuable uses.
LanzaTech has developed technologies that capture exhaust emissions and use bacteria to convert them into usable ethanol fuel. Bioreactors are used to convert liquid and compressed waste captured by steel mills, factories, or any other enterprise that produces emissions into liquid.
The core technology of LanzaTech is a kind of bacteria that likes to eat these dirty air currents. When bacteria eat the emissions, it basically ferments them and releases ethanol. The ethanol can then be transformed into various products.
LanzaTech is spinning off its business that specializes in different products. The company has created a spin-off company called LanzaJet and is developing other possible products, such as converting ethanol into ethylene and PEP (fiber used to make clothes).
Other examples include Climeworks and Carbon Engineering. Swiss startup Climeworks specializes in direct air capture. Direct air capture uses filters to absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
The emissions are then stored or sold for other uses, including fertilizers and even adding bubbles in soda-based beverages. Carbon Engineering is a Canadian company that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and processes it to improve oil recovery and even produce new synthetic fuels.