Next “X Prize” offers millions for oil spill cleanup technology

For those of you that are not familiar with the X Prize Foundation, it is a non-profit organization that aims to foster innovation through competition (and multi-million dollar purses).  Here at gCaptain, we’ve been following the X Prize Foundation since, in 2004, it offered a US$10,000,000 prize for the first non-government organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.

Best of all, IT WORKED…

The prize was won on October 4, 2004, the 47th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch, by the Tier One project using the experimental spaceplane SpaceShipOne. $10 million was awarded to the winner, but more than $100 million was invested in new technologies in pursuit of the prize.

Since then, several other X Prizes have been announced by the X Prize Foundation, promoting further development in space exploration and other technological fields.

Just yesterday, speaking at the TedxOilSpill Conference in Washington, D.C., Francis Beland, VP, Prize Development at the X Prize Foundation, announced it’s plans to offer the next multi-million dollar X Prize to an innovation that helps clean up the shorelines and oil fouled water in the Gulf of Mexico.

TEDx conferences are independently organized events, licensed by TED, a nonprofit dedicated to the theme of “ideas worth spreading.”

While details of the contest, and terms for the winners, are yet to be released, CNN has reported a prize of $3,000,000USD to the best new technology. X Prize will be announcing further details in the coming weeks, but for now you can submit suggestions to directly to francis@xprize.org.

What’s another thing yet to be determined?  Will BP allow this potentially new and useful technology to actually help with the cleanup?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but at this point it seems like BP is open to ideas (at least to help with cleanup), having already bought 32 of Kevin Costner’s centrifuge-like devices.

What do you think?  Will this new X Prize offer enough incentive for the next revolutionary oil spill cleanup technology?