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What is carbon capture technology and why Elon Musk is donating a $100 Million prize to find out the best carbon technology?

Global Warming has been a problem for the world for quite a few years now. The increase in the number of harmful gases is leading to more and more polluted air in the atmosphere.

Over the last century, the burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) as the burning process of coal or oil combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make CO2. The day-to-day human activities are changing the natural greenhouse and CO2 is the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. The increase in the amount of CO2 leads to a condition called “Hypercapnia” which causes a decrease in the amount of oxygen entered into the lungs and the carbon dioxide emitted. It can cause effects like headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, as well as serious complications such as seizures or loss of consciousness.

What is the solution for reducing the amount of carbon?

To prevent this from happening there is a process called Carbon capture and storage (CCS), or carbon capture and sequestration and carbon control and sequestration. As the name suggests, it is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. This method is used to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to reduce global climate change.

Why does it matter?

On April 22, 2016, an international treaty on climate change was signed popularly known as The Paris Agreement. The main goal is to limit global warming to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the world needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 

What is carbon capture technology and why Elon Musk is donating $100 Million prize to find out the best carbon technology?

You can also achieve this without CCS but that would involve fast and far-reaching reductions in energy demand that would, in turn, require massive – and unlikely – changes to the economy, society, and individuals’ behavior.


So the whole world has agreed upon a common agenda of shifting from coal-fired power to renewable energy. If investment in Carbon Capturing technologies is not increased, economies will have to act retrospectively by scrubbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which would be much less efficient than capturing these emissions at their source.

What can be done to decrease rising level of CO2?

The best possible answer to this question would be the increase in the amount of Carbon Capturing technologies. Under the International Energy Agency(IEA) Sustainable Development Scenario, the CCS technologies play a crucial role in supporting modern and flexible power systems. The IEA said that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.

Capturing carbon emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but at the same time, very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts more focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air.

Why Elon Musk is offering $100 Million prize?

Elon Musk who is the leader of some of the most futuristics company including Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink, tweeted on 21 January 2021, that he is donating a prize of $100 million for the development of the best carbon capture technology. He did not give much information except adding an accompanying tweet “Details will come next week.”

Sources say that this will be connected to Xprize Foundation, the non-profit organization that hosts competitions aimed at encouraging technological development and innovation.

Joe Biden, the newly-sworn US President, named Jennifer Wilcox, who is an expert in carbon removal technologies, as the principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. He also said that he would be eyeing the development of carbon capture technology as part of his sweeping plan to tackle climate change.

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