$1.4 Million Prize For Solving Oil Spill

A $1.4 million prize will be awarded to the team that demonstrates the ability to recover oil on the sea surface at the highest oil recovery rate (ORR) and the highest recovery efficiency (RE). Photo: BP p.l.c.

Watched coverage of the oil spill cleanup, only to find yourself extremely frustrated? Think you have a better cleanup solution? Then perhaps the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE is right up your alley.

The X PRIZE Foundation, an educational nonprofit fostering innovation through competition, has announced the launch of its sixth major incentive competition: a $1.4 million dollar challenge for innovative crude oil seawater surface cleanup methods.

The announcement was made by X PRIZE Founder and Chairman Peter Diamandis and Wendy Schimdt, who personally funded the $1.4 million prize.

The goal of the challenge is to inspire entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists worldwide to develop innovative, rapidly deployable and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface.

“The devastating impact of the Deepwater Horizon Spill will last for years and it is inevitable that future spills will occur – both from wells and from transport tankers,” said Dr. Diamandis.

“To be prepared to safeguard oceans and shores, the X PRIZE Foundation is announcing the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE to find the most effective and environmentally-safe solutions for capturing oil from all spills at the spill site, thus limiting their impacts and protecting our oceans, shores, marshes, and, importantly, the health and well-being of the people and wildlife which live and thrive in these communities.”

The Challenge will be implemented in two phases. The first invites teams from around the world to register and to submit their approach to crude oil cleanup, accepted through April 2011.

Proposals will be evaluated by a judging panel based on their technical approach and commercialization plan, no negative environmental impact, scalability of and ability to deploy technology and improvement of technology over today’s baseline booms and skimmers.

The judges will select up to 10 of the top teams to demonstrate their method’s cleanup ability in a head-to-head competition for the second phase. The competition will take place at the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility (OHSMETT) in New Jersey.

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