Elon Musk sponsors $ 100 million for carbon capture technology | Science

The richest man in the world decided to make a lofty goal this week: via Twitter, Elon Musk promise to donate 100 million dollars as an award for best carbon capture technology has appeared. The entrepreneur promises to provide more details on this idea next week.

Elon Musk (Image: Dan Taylor / Heisenberg Media)

Elon Musk (photo: Dan Taylor / Heisenberg Media)

At first glance, the message sounds provocative, as if Musk wanted to say that it is difficult to make the technology of the kind he comes up with highly valuable because he knows that no project will be successful. have been awarded.

But everything turns out that Musk is serious: TechCrunch, a source familiar with the initiative revealed that, in order to award the prize, Musk was involved Xprize Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes the development of technology projects that benefit humanity.

Presumably, what Elon Musk intends is to encourage the development of information technology carbon capture and storage (CCS, in the English acronym), means projects that can prevent carbon dioxide emitted from certain sources (like factories) from circulating freely around.

This idea is not new. For years, companies or academic studies have tried to prevent gases from burning fossil fuels, for example, from entering the atmosphere and causing problems that we already know well, for example. such as climate change and the increase in diseases caused by pollution.

The problem is that, as a rule, CCS projects are expensive, at least during the implementation phase, which makes it difficult to adopt or improve those technologies.

If the biggest difficulty was financing, the $ 100 million that Elon Musk promised could actually drive the existing CCS programs, but didn’t scale or put the same purpose projects on paper.

Based on TechCrunchAnother initiative that can benefit is LanzaTech. The startup’s project isn’t necessarily for capturing and storing carbon, but it has a similar or more interesting purpose: converting pollutant gas into ethanol that can be used in different products. Specific bacteria are used in the transformation.

Another project considered promising is ClimeworksThe company has developed a filtration system that directly absorbs carbon dioxide from the air. This material is then stored and can be sold for application in fertilizers.

In any case, we should wait for Musk’s announcement next week to get a clear idea of ​​the criteria and goals.

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