When XPRIZE Carbon Removal launched on April 19, 2021, the first draft of the competition guidelines were published for public review. While the guidelines had already been reviewed by a selection of experts in Carbon Removal, in the XPRIZE tradition of crowdsourcing innovation we invited the world to write questions, comments, and suggestions about how to improve the guidelines. In the four weeks that followed, over 300 comments and suggestions were submitted relating to a number of aspects of the competition, each of which was carefully considered.
What has changed and what has not.
The major elements of the competition - including the scope, schedule, requirements, and award structure - remain unchanged. What HAS changed in version two are clarifications regarding several details about the competition. In this post we will explain a few of the key issues in some detail. We have also updated the Frequently Asked Questions on the competition website with answers to many of the questions we received during the public comment period. Thank you to everyone who took time to carefully read the guidelines and offer input!
Clarification: Scope of Competition
We received many questions and comments regarding emissions reductions beyond just CO2: Whether technologies that reduce greenhouse gasses other than CO2 are in scope, how we consider technologies that reduce emissions via energy generation or industrial emissions capture, or technologies that offset emissions from other sources. This is an important point worth clarifying. Only technologies which remove CO2 from the air, or the surface layer of the ocean, and sequester it durably, are eligible to win prize money in this competition. Only CO2 removed during the competition timeline (April 2021 - April 2025) will be considered. In addition to CO2, teams will be invited to describe in their submission to the judges any ‘valuable co-benefits’: These may include reduction or removal of other greenhouse gasses, production of energy or other valuable products, or any other tangible or intangible benefits. These co-benefits will be considered secondary to CO2 removal, and considered at the judges’ discretion.
Clarification: Intellectual Property
We received a number of questions and concerns about XPRIZE’s stance on Intellectual Property and other legal issues. All of these issues are spelled out in detail in the Competitor’s Agreement, which each team is required to sign during the registration process. XPRIZE claims no interest in any team's Intellectual Property, and all team confidential information is protected by non-disclosure agreements. An important aspect of all XPRIZEs is that all teams maintain full ownership of their intellectual property, both IP that was brought to the competition and developed in pursuit of the XPRIZE. We recognize that the prize submissions will contain sensitive confidential information, and we protect all of this information through encrypted transmission and storage of data, and all members of the XPRIZE team and judge panel with access to team data are covered by non-disclosure agreements.
Clarification: Registration and Submission Requirements
Each team only needs to register for the competition once, on the Prize Operations Portal (POP) in advance of the registration deadline. A separate technical submission will be due for each Phase of the competition. XPRIZE will provide all teams with a submission template, well in advance of the submission deadline, with detailed instructions on how to structure your submission. XPRIZE will also be releasing more details regarding certain aspects of the evaluation & verification protocols to be used in the competition. We have flagged these aspects in the updated guidelines document. Once registered for the competition you will begin to receive regular emails from us informing competitors of any new developments.
We do not anticipate making any further changes during Phase 1 of the competition. Upon completion of Phase 1 we will conduct another review and may revise the guidelines for Phase 2.
You can find version 2 of the competition guidelines here.