Elon Musk started 2021 with a bang as he became the world's richest man surpassing Jeff Bezos. Now, he sets Twitter on fire with his latest tweet. Elon Musk has recently tweeted that he is willing to offer $100 million for whoever comes up with the best carbon capture tech. All you geniuses must be eagerly waiting to submit your proposals but will have to wait a bit more because immediately after his mindblowing tweet he tweeted again saying that "Details next week". In our minds, $100 million is a whopping sum of money but in reality, this is just 1% of his net worth.
What's more interesting about this offer is that it's linked to Xprize Foundation. Xprize Foundation is a non-profit organization that conducts competitions with the intention of encouraging technological developments and innovations.
Last year the International Energy Agency (IEA) mentioned that there should be a massive rise in the implementation of carbon capture technology if countries are to achieve Zero emission targets. Also, the recently appointed US president Joe Biden has plans in place to deal with climate change as well. Therefore, if this initiative becomes a massive success then definitely the common objective of both Biden and IEA can be achieved easily
What is carbon capture and storage?
This is no rocket science. In a nutshell, this is a technology which captures carbon dioxide released at refineries /larger factories/power plants and then it is stored so that it's not released to the atmosphere and as a result, this greatly cuts down the contribution to global warming. After storing carbon dioxide, it can be piped to locations where it is highly useful. Most of this gas will be pumped underground where the fossil fuels are. So that it does not contribute to the climate crisis. Also, some of this gas can be used to make plastics, grow greenhouse plans and make fizzy drinks as well.
Why is carbon capture so important?
As per IEA, carbon emission projects could drastically reduce global carbon dioxide emissions and at the same time, it cut down the cost of dealing with the climate crisis.
Why is the implementation taking long and who is using it currently?
There is no doubt that this technology is an awesome innovation to combat the climate crisis. However, it is taking time to fully implement it and that is because the capital cost is extremely expensive. Apart from this main hurdle, there are companies that use this technology in different ways. A few of those companies are LanzaTech and Climeworks. LanazTech specializes in capturing waste gas emissions and at the same time uses bacteria to convert it into useable ethanol fuel. Climeworks specializes in using direct air capture that uses filters to grab carbon dioxide from the air.
Elon Musk is doing the world a large favour by coming up with initiatives like this. These kinds of initiatives are a massive morale boost for upcoming innovators. It is true that there is only one winner but this will inspire other innovators to think big. More influencers around the world should support and promote initiatives like this. Moreover, governments and private institutes across the world should largely be involved in deploying green initiatives such as this.