Feeds

X Prize offers cash for oil spill cleaners

Today the Gulf, tomorrow the world

Intelligent flash storage arrays

This Thursday, the X Prize Foundation will announce its next competition: a challenge to inventors and entrepreneurs to find ways to clean up after such environmental disasters as BP's Gulf gusher.

The effort won't encompass the entire mess that BP has made, nor will it target all the oil released in future underwater discharges of Texas tea. It will, in the words of the Foundation's announcement of its upcoming announcement: "inspire entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists worldwide to develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface."

That's a laudable goal, to be sure, but a large percentage of BP's cock-up crude never made it to the ocean's surface — it remains suspended below the surface, making it immeasurably more difficult to recover.

The Playa Vista, California, non-profit Foundation says that Thursday's announcement will include details on the scope of the competition, team rules, and the size of the prize purse.

The Foundation will also announce the "competition benefactor" — and although Cisco Systems is the "Presenting Sponsor" of the Foundation's Energy and Environment Prize Group, that's no guarantee that the networking megacorp will be fronting the cash for the prize winners.

The Foundation is perhaps best known for the Ansari X Prize, a $10m award to the first privately funded vehicle that could complete two trips to above 100km within a two weeks. That prize was won on October 4, 2004 — the anniversary of the 1957 flight of the first-ever satellite, the Soviet Union's Sputnik — by SpaceShipOne, designed by Bert Rutan and funded by Microsoft co-founder and squillionaire Paul Allen.

Other X Foundation prizes are still out there, waiting to be won. The $10m Archon Genomics X Prize will be awarded to the first team that can sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days. A $20m chunk of the Google Lunar X Prize will go to the first team to send a privately funded vehicle to the moon and drop off a robot that can travel 500m and transmit video, images and data back to us Terrans, with another $10m reserved for other lunar feats. And the $10m Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize invites inventors to come up with vehicles that can exceed 100 MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent).

Among the presenters at Thursday's press conference will be Peter Diamandis, the Foundation's founder and chairman, and Philippe Cousteau, grandson of the celebrated Jacques-Yves Cousteau and CEO of EarthEcho International, and enviro group that works "to empower youth to take action that restores and protects our water planet."

The Foundation did not announce whether BP's newly named CEO, Bob Dudley, will attend — but The Reg recommends not betting on his attendance. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.