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.