$1.4 Million X Prize Challenge

X Prize announced a $1.4 million prize in a year-long competition to develop new, more effective methods of cleaning up oil on ocean surfaces. The prize is funded by Wendy Schmidt and the new technology must improve by at least 50% the current methods for surface oil cleanup and will be tested beginning April 20, 2011 (the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion) — why is it always April 20?

Read the full press release here.

I commend the Schmidt Family Foundation and the X Prize Foundation for creating an incentive for new ideas even after the Macondo well has been sealed. They are working to remedy the “market failure” and incentivize innovators.

X Prize Foundation’s founder and chairman, Peter Diamandis, added, “The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea. We don’t know where the leading idea will come from, but we have the utmost confidence that it will emerge from crowdsourcing.”

Schmidt hopes the competition will not only spark creative cleanup solutions, but also help to ensure people are aware of the “aftershock” of the spill long after the live video feed of the oil spill has gone dark. “It’s so easy for people to forget about it, which has a psychic consequence, both for people in the gulf and for people in the nation,” she said.


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