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X PRIZE planned to help with BP oil spill clean up

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July 6, 2010

The BP oil spill, as shown in a NASA satellite image

The BP oil spill, as shown in a NASA satellite image

Whether it's reaching orbit, landing on the moon, building more efficient cars or speeding up human genome sequencing, the X PRIZE has become synonymous with driving innovation. Now there's another scenario that's crying out for the kind of radical breakthrough theses prizes are designed to achieve – the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. The X PRIZE Foundation is planning to answer this call with a new prize aimed at incentivizing privately-funded methods to quickly clean up crude oil from the ocean and coastlines around the spill.

The announcement was made by X PRIZE vice president Francis Beland and senior advisor Dave Gallo at the TEDxOilSpill conference last week. Specifics on the multi- million dollar incentive will be announced in coming weeks.

While there have been no shortage of solutions put forward in the more than two months since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion, BP has yet to find a solution and the environmental disaster continues on.

This is the official statement currently posted at the X PRIZE site:

The X PRIZE Foundation is considering, but has not yet developed, a multi-million dollar competition to help alleviate the effects of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We are currently consulting with experts and advisors on the viability of this potential competition to incentivize the development of rapidly-deployable methods for the clean-up of crude oil along our coastlines and within our oceans. While the launch of such a competition is not guaranteed, we will announce further details on the development of this competition as they are available. Thank you for your encouragement and support.

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.   All articles by Noel McKeegan
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6 Comments

It's kind of sad that this type of thing is even necessary. How about an x-prize for figuring out a way to make human beings not be so damn greedy? If we weren't so greedy for profits, we'd have been energy independent with green energy long ago. Then the only oil we'd need for plastics and such would be easily satisfied by land-based drilling which is far safer.

A man can dream.

Stradric
6th July, 2010 @ 08:53 am PDT

Politician should be part of the blame because they let those BP campaign money corrupted them instead of doing the right thing.

wow2010
6th July, 2010 @ 04:01 pm PDT

In the mean time, the A Whale, a supertanker converted to skim more oil from the water in one day than almost the entire amount of oil skimmed from the Gulf in the last three months, is available and ready to go and yet it sits in port waiting for the bureaucrats at the EPA to run environmental impact tests. So, even if the X-Prize people can spur an innovative solution, that solution still has to get past the small, petty bureaucrats in government before they even get the chance to help solve the situation. Until then, apparently the EPA is fine with letting oil pour into the Gulf and despoil the beaches, wetlands and so on.

Mark Dixon
6th July, 2010 @ 05:23 pm PDT

Actually the super tanker/ skimmer is doing tests and is working but the waters too choppy for that to help much. They need to be skiming from the plume below the waves closer to the leak sites. That means they need to contain and channel the plume underwater.

http://appliedimpossibilies.blogspot.com/2010/06/capping-gulf-oil-leak-with-plastic.html

Give me an airfare, some canvas and 30 sail makers with all their gear and put us to work in a hanger and we will corral all that oil. Then we just feed it into that big ship called 'a whale' and its job done.

10% these claims of bureaucratic red tape blocking things are real but most are just rumour. As is the one that the ship 'A Whale' is not working. Choppy seas stops surface skimming so get the pipe down to the point where the oil is thickest below the waves.

Wesley Bruce
7th July, 2010 @ 08:34 am PDT

A solution to the leak repair has already been provided as well as the solution to the cleanup. How will X PRIZE manage to get past Bp and the government to do anything? Take down the road blocks first and then see about implantation of ideas. There has been no release of crucial information about the well itself to even begin with detailing a fix. Only Horizon has that info and I'd like to see you get it. There is a real good possibility that the drill shaft is stuck inside the blowout preventer. That needs to be confirmed as well as other problems to overcome. They are waiting on the "relief wells before doing anything else. That will never work just as they tried in the Ixtoc well. Who is to say those wells are not going straight down for more oil. Think about this - can you stop a river by putting 2 more channels in it? A new 21" riser with the proper seal will control this "river." In this way all the oil will come to the top for loading.

donwine
7th July, 2010 @ 01:36 pm PDT

Actually we have turned down the Dutch Skimmers which would work far better than anything we or BP has tried. I am a Captain and worked that area all my adult life. I also know shipping and barges as most of my career was pushing barges. The Jones Act has been blamed for some of this but it would have no affect that is just an excuse the Jones act only applies withing the 3 mile limit of the Coast. All the of ships currently collecting oil are non US flagged vessels. Whey turn down help from other countries. The EPA is either deliberately letting this get worse in hopes of stopping off shore drilling or simply a bunch of bureaucrats who have no idea what the heck they are doing. At this time their is no way the US can afford to stop offshore gas and oil drilling without seriously damaging our economy at a time it can ill afford it when 1 out of 4 men between 18 and 60 are looking for a full time job or out of work, a large number of them have simply gave up on finding work and even more are just working part time. We need Nuclear Energy but that will take at least 10 years for each plant. We need Solar and Wind but that will take 25 years just to equal our imports of oil never lone what we produce. America is the third largest producer of oil in the World just barely less than Russia and about 10 to 15 percent less than Saudi Arabia. However we are the largest user of oil right now but nations like China and India are really coming on strong.

Facebook User
9th July, 2010 @ 09:54 pm PDT
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