On July 29, 2010, the X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org) launched its sixth major competition, the $1.4 Million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE, designed to inspire entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists worldwide to develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface. In making the announcement, the X PRIZE Foundation hopes to attract philanthropic and venture capital to support development of this important capability and provide a global platform where new technologies can be competed head-to-head, and the best approaches demonstrated, to prepare for future catastrophes.
The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE has two phases: Phase I. From August 2010 – April 2011, teams from around the world are invited to register for this competition, and to submit their approach to clean up oil slicks created by spills or leaks from ships or tankers (e.g. Exxon Valdez) land drainage, waste disposal, or oil platform spill (e.g. Deepwater Horizon). An expert panel of judges from industry and academia will evaluate all of the proposals. Phase II. The judges will select up to 10 of the top teams to demonstrate their ability to efficiently and rapidly clean up oil on the ocean surface in a head-to-head competition. These proofs of capability, which will determine the winner, will take place at the US National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility (OHSMETT) in New Jersey. The top team that demonstrates the ability to recover oil on the seawater surface at the highest oil recovery rate (ORR) and recovery efficiency (RE) will win the $1 million Grand Purse. Second place will win $300,000 and third place will win $100,000 in purses.