June 28th, 2010
01:56 PM ET

X Prize's multimillion-dollar challenge for Gulf oil solutions

An EPA worker takes photos of oil coming ashore in Orange Beach, Alabama.

The X Prize Foundation announced today that it is developing a multimillion-dollar “oil spill cleanup X challenge” to come up with solutions to cleaning up shorelines and open water fouled by oil leaking from the BP Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Speaking at the TEDxOilSpill conference in Washington, Frances Beland of the X Prize Foundation asked the audience of 300, and many more watching the conference’s videostream, “What do you prize?” Beland told CNN after his appearance that the oil-related challenge will probably offer about $3 million in prize money for a cleanup solution.

The X Prize Foundation gained public attention for its X Prize of $10 million awarded for the development of private spacecraft, and the nonprofit foundation has created other prize challenges.

Beland said the foundation wanted to come up with a prize to find a solution to capping the well but found it was unable to obtain enough data to design such a challenge, so it opted to focus on the cleanup.

“We’re going to launch a prize for cleanup, and we’re going to kick ass,” he said, to applause.

Beland said 35,000 solutions to the Gulf crisis have been proposed to BP, the government and other organizations, including the X Prize Foundation.

“Every time we have a challenge, you know who wins? It’s not someone from the industry, it’s a maverick, a freethinker.”

soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Guixian Lu

    I mistyped my email address. So I post my comment again. Please delete the previous one.
    This is a machine designed for cleanup oil in the Mexico Coast.

    Brief description of Figures: The figure was uploaded to youtube.com. The line is:
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL7glnKsiYo&w=640&h=360]

    Fig.1: Item 1 is an oil pan, formed by items 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Item 3 and 4 are oil guides. Item 8 and 9 are floats. Items 15-19 are oil sweepers, moving towards the oil pan.
    Fig. 2: Fig.2 is a cross section in Fig.1 cut at plan A_A and seen in the direction of the arrows. Item 7 is a door that moves up and down depending oil level coming towards it. Oil sweepers 15-19 are hung on the chain 14. Items 12 and 13 are chain wheels for chain 14. Item 10 is a oil pump. Item 11 is a water pump. Item 20 is water level in the ocean.

    Description:
    There is at least one oil sweeper to move oil on water between the oil guides 3 and 4 towards the oil pan. There are some sensors on the oil sweepers to determent oil level at the sweepers. The door is controlled by a microprocessor. The position of the door depends on the oil level at coming oil sweepers. Water pump 11 pumps out water from the oil pan. Oil pump10 pumps oil to a tank in the ship. There are sensors in the oil pan to detect oil level in the oil pan. The microprocessor determents the time to run the oil pump and the time to run the water pump.
    There are many oil pans linked in a line between two ships, moving in the oil spill area.

    July 1, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. Larry Towne

    Every one is so eager to blame Obama, but he is not in charge, BP is and the British, we are being punished for kicking them out severl centuries ago.

    July 1, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Larry Towne

    I still think a large angioplasty baloon filled with hydrolic fluid and made of very heavy rubber, inserted to the bottom of the casing, inflated, topped off with waterproof concrete should stop the leak, Clinton suggested blowing it up, apparently he is unaware the whole area if full of frozen methane and he would get a much bigger bang than he anticipated, the tidal wave of oil would make Katrina look like childs play and foul all the fresh water probably all the way to the lake.

    July 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Guixian Lu

    This is updated description of oil cleaner for Mexico Coast.
    Brief description of Figures: The figure was uploaded to youtube.com. The link is:
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL7glnKsiYo&w=640&h=360]

    Fig.1: Item 1 is an oil pan, formed by items 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Item 3 and 4 are oil guides. Item 8 and 9 are floats. Items 15-19 are oil sweepers, moving towards the oil pan.

    Fig. 2: Fig.2 is a cross section in Fig.1 cut at plan A_A and seen in the direction of the arrows. Item 7 is a door that moves up and down depending oil level coming towards it. One end of each oil sweepers 15-19 is hung on the chain 14. The other ends of sweepers are hung on another chain that is not shown. Items 12 and 13 are chain wheels for chain 14. There are two more chain wheels with another chain, which are close to item 4. They are not shown. There are more sweepers on upper half of chain 14. They are not shown. Item 10 is a oil pump. Item 11 is a water pump. Item 20 is water level in the ocean.

    Description:
    There is at least one oil sweeper to move oil on water between the oil guides 3 and 4 towards the oil pan. There are some sensors on inner sides of guides 3 or 4 to determent oil level outside the door 7. The door is moved up and down according the oil level outside the door to let most oil in. Water pump 11 pumps out water from the oil pan. Oil pump10 pumps oil to a tank in the ship. There are sensors in the oil pan to detect oil level in the oil pan. Water pump runs when there is too much water in the oil pan. Oil pump runs when oil in the oil pan is exceeds certain level.
    There are many oil pans linked in a line between two ships, moving in the oil spill area.

    July 1, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. William Nelson

    Reuniting wax to oil renders the oil into a non adhesive, non contaminating solid. Fish can swim through it and birds can land onto it without being harmed, and it will not contaminate the wetlands. Oil companies could have used their own wax, the same wax that comes from the very oil being lost, and would have prevented this mess. Here is the best part, They get the wax back after refining. The wax can be used over and over until the oil bleed out, if that what it takes. BP and EXXON have a abundance of wax to treat oil spills. Application method: Spray the wax onto the oil as it reaches the water surface and let it go adrift as a solid and be removed with fish nets, then dumped into a barge to be sent to a refinery so that the wax can be reused. This method has been proven many times in the past 40 years. See videos showing this process here..www,waxforpollution.com

    July 2, 2010 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. William Nelson

    I envisioned, and pondered about how to seal the large almost vertical pipe with most of the oil coming from it. I have kept my eye on that particular pipe by watching it from several angles on Youtube and Google Videos. I don’t know the exact dimensions of that leaking pipe, so I will assume that it is a twenty one inch diameter pipe one inch thick? If that’s the case, then I have a simple basic solution to plug it.

    A Cad Computer would be handy, and then this could be better illustrated in a clearer form. So please invasion a ship having a large crane lowering down a long tapering steal pin with a weight that exceeds the PSI of the oil gushing from the open mouth of the pipe.

    This pin must be lowered very slowly into the mouth of the pipe with precision accuracy by the use of two stabilized lasers to create cross hairs above the lip of the pipe, and through the gushing oil. GPS can be used to assist guiding the pin down through the reverse vortex of the flowing oil.

    When the point of the pin is just below the lip, or partially into the mouth of the pipe, then there is no chance for the pin to be pushed aside by the pressure of the oil because the pin is now in the pipe.

    At this point the pin can be lowered down from the ship above. I must add that the pin is wrapped in 2 to 4 inches thick of lead shielding mid way up the pin. The lead is very malleable and will displace any ragged edges. The weight and pressure of the pin will stretch and compress the lead onto the inner wall of the pipe to assure no leakage...

    Using a rounded tip pin to insert into the pipe would be impossible because of resistance against the rounded end.
    When the pipe is plugged, a stainless steal dome can be placed over the caped pipe and sealed permanently in cement.

    Job well done, and Hope this helps………thanx

    July 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joseph I. Marino, Sr.

    I have devised a system to CONTAIN, CONTROL, DIRECT, DIVERT AND TRANSMIT THE DISCHARGING OIL to appropiate oil refining sources, -without the use of chemicals nor causing any environment problems or damage. This system employs currently available technology and equipment and the expertise of qualified oil Engineers under the direction of the U S COAST GUARD and the Federal Government, My attempts to communicate this info with BP, Coast Guard, etc. through the Internet, media sources, etc. has been fruitless and futile. Can you put me in contact with appropiate Authorities and US Patent Office? Thanks. Please reply. Signed: GUISEPPI

    July 3, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      I am as frustrated as you my friend, I am getting no where either.

      July 3, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    I emailed the xprize foundation stating that I had 9 different solutions, and wanted to know if I won one of them if I would loose the rights to the solution. The response was they were working on the details of it. and it would come in several weeks. I mean if I had the go ahead it would still take if lucky 1 week to construct my solution, plus several weeks of waiting these rules, than how many more weeks to get them to approve test or whatever they need to do with it, before they allow the attempt. Is anyone counting the barrels, its alot.

    July 3, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Q

    I am not an inventor. I have a suggestion. Try to attach a funnel type device with a long tube, which will be used to redirect the oil. Once this device is secured drill a hole through the tube. The tube should lead to and exit above the water. This could change the direction of the oil flow, slow the oil coming out and make it possible to seal the damaged pipe.

    July 6, 2010 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dawn

    Use dawn dishwashing liquid in the water to dilute the oil, and the oil will have a less deadly effect on the ocean life. Use some kind of machine to rotate the water to make waves so that the bubbles and lather from the dishwashing liquid can spread. By the time the oil hit the beaches it would have vanished. There will be tons of dawn dishwashing liquid that will need to be used. The states of florida, mississippi, alabama, texas should try this first on the coast.

    July 8, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. P

    Let nature take its course and clean it up itself.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. zeroza

    Is hard to believe but, Ethanol will destroy this oil easy like paint on the table, now u'r ready to pay millions to clean, but my question is how much would u pay to destroy it from the gulf??? Personalty i don't think u would destroy your beloved oil right.Then .

    July 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zeroza

    I have a better idea, if you use Ethanol on this oil, u don't have to pay me...

    July 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Name*Jose f blanco

    Thank you all people xprize

    April 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Name*Jose f blanco

    Ok thank

    May 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8