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. Jon O

    You know what I love about the people that complain about how Obama didn't immediately pull the Jones Act?

    They have no idea that the Deepwater Horizon is in international waters and that, therefore, foreign vessels don't need our permission – or the repeal of the Jones Act – to help out at the rig.

    Sure, we should pull it now so they can come into our waters and assist... but that's not what the obviously truth-challenged goobers are saying – they're saying Obama should have pulled it immediately, which isn't even a factor in this, which proves that they have no respect or consideration for the truth, only the propaganda they push on the rest of us.... with the clear intent of fear-mongering and the clear motivation of hate for anyone like them.

    Get some integrity. Respect the truth.

    June 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Common Sense

      It is also US-controlled waters. The two overlap, and therefore, the Jones Act applies. A simple search on US territorial waters will show you that.

      June 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John Dow

    up one cone idea top surface one mile diameter bottom 400 meters length longer than ocean depth place trapazoid around the cone
    snap sides together with under water robot inflate boom with helium pull curtain above ocean surface siphon all new oil gushing into super tankers make sides of cone semipermable so allows water out but traps oil inside have one on stand by to all new well drilling platforms in case well failure occurs in the future and be a plan a deploy the cone while relief well is drilled.......

    June 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      Man, your idea might just be the Magic Bullet - but I have no idea what you're trying to say. Find someone who speaks English to translate for you, OK?

      June 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • wavydavy

      God, I love a good run-on sentence! Your idea may be good (or may not be), but either way it's indecipherable.

      June 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • John dow

      1 take a trapaozoid 3mile top side 400 m bottom side one mile and a half depth
      extend to ocean floor
      coral oil well inside
      fasten edge together
      make cone
      inflate boom on top side to float above water above projected storm surge
      make sides semipermable so oil stays in cone and water is allowed to escape
      siphon oil from inside cone to tanker
      take oil in tanker to refinery
      plan 2 what ever the natural bacteria is that eats oil promote growth deploy instead of disapatient agent

      June 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Leigh

    Teach residents of affected shoreline areas how to clean up the mess safely and have supervisors monitor the cleanup activities. Not a direct solution, but it has to be done at some point and no one really seems to be as of late.

    June 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nick H.

    Why not put a HUGE 100FT wide tub (like a BIG garden hose) over the hole that opens at the surface? This would channel the entire leak into the tube. At the service have big tankers suck out oil 24×7. They can then separate oil from the water.

    June 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sal

    To prevent the gushing oil polluting the Gulf, why don't they try to set fire to it at the source? For instance something like a giant blowtorch fueled by natural gas at the mouth of the spill to burn it up as it is gushing out. We do have underwater torches to cut thru metal etc., so why not a torch to ignite the oil spewing from the well? Don't laugh, because it's not as far fetched as it may sound.

    June 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Fire under water?

      June 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Pete

      What are you using for oxidizer genius?

      June 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • 目_目

      i reak oxymoron

      June 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. RAT

    A friend of mine at church said he heard some guy DISCOVERED A BUG that likes to eat all the oil it can get. When he proposed this to the "Government" they did not want to acknowledge this SOLUTION TO THE MESS. Apparently, from what my friend said is that after the BUG eats all the OIL, it DIES. How much of our wildlife and people have to die before the BUG EATS UP ALL THE OIL?

    June 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnnyhouse

      Yeh it is called hummmmmmmmer.

      June 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The Truth

    Come on people! Do you really think BP don't have the technology and knowlege to fix the spill at the begining of the disaster?They do.Let say they did cap the well said within 2 weeks of the spill, then there would be investigations of the accident ,some millions gallons of oil was aldready in the gulf which need to be clean..... .We 're talking about YEARS before BP can open that well again,money lost right there! So why not let the spill get bigger to create pannic then BP 's "solution" is to drill 2 wells which they call "relief wells". Now even though the original well is capped,there is still oil to pump from the "relief wells",profit keeps comming.Oh,about the money lost in fines and other payments,BP can make it up in 3 to 5 years.Turn off the "relief wells" you said? Can't do that because it will blow off the capped well....MONEY,MONEY,MONEY!

    June 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Pete

      Yeah, $20 billion spent for starters. Sounds like a great opportunity to make $. Why did I not see it???

      June 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RAT

    My idea was take those big IVORY TOWERS, break them up and stick them on a boat, along with the LONDON BRIDGE, being that one of the boats sank with part of the bridge anyway, and drop it on the gusher

    June 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. OBXGirl

    Head to the Outer Banks, there's no oil there, yet!

    Outer Banks Traveler iPhone/iPad App

    June 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike, Cleveland OH

    Pay people to move away from costal areas .. there's far too many disasters (most of them natural) to justify living there for the view. Make 20 miles inland of all oceans federal park land. Nature takes care of itself just fine (our interventions .. usually to fix one of our own screwups .. generally cause more problems than they solve anyway). Exceptions granted to the above for ports and such, but no beachfront houses.

    June 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      You realize you just had the government take control of most of Florida and almost all of Hawaii, dont you? Not to mention bulldozing NYC. This is more than a little unreasonable.

      June 28, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. marcia

    I can't believe that BP didn't have a plan already in action for a situation like this.
    But,that may have taken up some of their precious time and money.
    Every last one of them should be locked up...but not before they individually go
    to the shore and start cleaning up!

    June 28, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • N'awleanschigga

      Lock up Obozo too. He could have stopped all this madness 3 months ago and gone on to green energy plans...he is not doing a dayumed thing to get this addicted to anythin country off its oil slabbered chupo.

      June 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eureka!

    Why not just Super Glue(tm). If it can hold a construction worker by his helmet and suspend him from an iron girder, then surely it can stop a leak.

    June 28, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. johnnyhouse

    Catch Bin Laden and stick his head in the hole. Should be enough to sop up a bunch of it.No kidding ,I think BP is sandbagging on the whole mess. What makes them think they can drill two more holes and keep control of them?We will have three gushers if this mess does not succeed.We need to get help from the people who have drilled the successful wells in the gulf that are not leaking.

    June 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John Dow

    plan 2 whatever that bacteria is that digests the oil sponser a molecular growth of that and spead it like crop dusting instead of chemical dispesents go bio on the remaining slick....
    X PRIZE Foundation
    5510 Lincoln Blvd. Suite 100
    Playa Vista, CA 90094-2034

    T 310-741-4880
    F 310-741-4974

    Media/Press Contact:
    Michael Timmons
    X PRIZE Foundation
    5510 Lincoln Blvd. Suite 100
    Playa Vista, CA 90094-2034

    T 310-741-4884
    F 310-741-4974
    here is the contact info call write walk down if your close enough and submit a plan if it is picked then you get a cool 3 million ......

    June 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. N'awleanschigga

    The only way that this well can be stopped is to nuke it...NO other way will work!

    June 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      Is this your serious idea for a solution? Nobody is THAT stupid, are they?

      June 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      a nuke will not work...

      July 3, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
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