Want $10 Million? X Prize Foundation Announces Prize for Gulf Oil Spill Solution

While politicians in Washington, DC and beyond cast blame for who is responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, government agencies and businesses are scrambling and suggesting novel ideas for cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico.  Hair stylists have sent boxes of human hair to the Gulf, with suspect results—and with the tar balls spreading, there are not enough heads to shave to make a difference.  Another low-tech idea is hay, which a couple Florida businessmen suggested.  Bacteria is another option that scientists have offered.  Whether or not these ideas are practical or not really does not matter:  because BP has not paid much attention to suggestions coming from citizens at large.

Now the X Prize Foundation, a philanthropic organization that is dedicated to creating prizes rewarding technical innovation, has thrown its hat into the ring.  Yesterday, Francis Beland, Vice President of Prize Development at X Prize, announced a bonus for finding an effective way of cleaning up the spill:  US$10 million.

Beland announced the bounty at the TedXOilSpill conference in Washington, DC on Monday.  Led by leaders in academia, business, and NGOs, TedXOilSpill has already succeeded in documenting the growing catastrophe in the Gulf.  Photographers and videographers have documented the devastating environmental impacts and most significantly, BP officials who have interfered with the media and organizations who wish to help out in the region.

X Prize already has a legacy for sparking innovation in DNA sequencing technology, space exploration, and fuel-efficient automobiles.  The idea behind the competitions is that innovation will tap creativity—rather than waiting to give a prize based on past accomplishments.  Details are not yet available, but odds are that start-ups of all industries will be knocking on the foundation’s doors.

It’s a tall order for X Prize, considering BP’s reluctance to open itself up to help.  When InnoCentive launched a challenge just 10 days after the Deepwater Horizon oil well began, the response was the quickest the Massachusetts-based company had ever experienced—and InnoCentive offered no cash incentive.  BP’s reply?  Such an offer was “too complex and burdensome to add to already overstretched workdays.”

For the moment, you can send suggestions to Beland by email.  After 70 day so finger pointing, ruined industries, crude comments, and an ill-timed yacht race, no end appears in sitght.  Hopefully BP’s executives will become exhausted from the public outcry and their firm’s diminished value and open up to X Prize and InnoCentive.

Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010. He has lived across the U.S., as well as in South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Uruguay. Some of Leon's work can also be found in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. You can follow him on Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

9 responses

  1. Pingback: Want $10 Million? X Prize Foundation Announces Prize for Gulf Oil Spill Solution | cDiver.net - The Commercial Diving Network
  2. hello
    I'm ahad zamani from iran and I have a good idea for cleaning up the spill. It's really simple way.
    what should we do?
    and also we need translator for have a good communication.

    May the joy be with you.

  3. Check out Innovatus Energy. They are a semi-finalist winner of the 2010 Cleantech Open competition that is still ongoing. I think their mobile omni biomass energy platform refinery is going to be the winner here. Their mobile machines takes all of that petroleum encrusted grass, leaves, cleanup pads etc… and can convert it into either a biofuel like biodiesel, produce electricity, provide heat, help sanitize water, or produce biochar and it does so while remediating a lot of waste. As you can imagine it greatly reduces what would otherwise be going to some kind of massive landfill dump site otherwise. Pretty cool.

  4. If you want a Green way to clean up that nasty oil spill, Ordinary string fibres actually attract the oil and the water runs off of it while the oil stays attached to the fibre. I tried it and it works perfect. Now multiply that string fibre by xxx and let me know how things work.

  5. I was going to propose Adria Brown's oil spill cleanup solution that I have been promoting for the past two months across the web ( see videos at http://recovery.windenberger.com ), but it looks like these guys at X Prize Foundation want to support the creation of new innovative solutions which tap creativity. My teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first taught me almost 30 years ago that the source of all creativity and intelligence was Transcendental Consciousness–the source of all thoughts, the most settled state of the mind. It will be interesting to see if those participating in this X Prize competition will be utilizing such technologies of consciousness to harness their infinite creativity to find solutions that can clean up the oil spill quickly without creating other damages. I would also be very interested in supporting anyone of those competitors interested in removing their mental and emotional blocks through the use of my unconditional freedom process.

    Dr Claude Windenberger
    Unconditional Freedom Process Developer and Facilitator

  6. well nice to see those new idea for oil spill clean up solution, BUT the answer is in the nature , there`s nothing in the world yet compare to what i been working on for 2 year`s, it`s a plant that grow in north america and catch all petrolum liquid , fuel , gas , oil every thing that contain petrolum propreties

    C lavoie
    quebec canada

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