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. Dr Claude Windenberger

    Adria Brown who invented and patented the Golden Retriever oil and chemical spill recovery method that uses dried entire corn cobs may be the free thinker the X Prize Foundation is looking to support. I have started gathering news, press releases, articles, videos, radio interviews, blog posts and comments about her simple and affordable eco friendly oil spill cleanup solution at the webpage – http://recovery.windenberger.com (check it out, share it with everyone, and let me know if I should add anything to it)

    June 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Vern Bouwman

    My suggestion is about stopping the leak in the well.
    See: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=TankerKawishiwi#p/u/0/Le0vbtQwwkc

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. WyldKat

    Hey, I have an idea, why don't they install a turbine cover over the well head, that way we could get some energy from the pressure coming off the oil. This energy would also then give us an accurate reading of the oil flow capacities. Then we could apply Kevin Coster's brother's invention of using centrifugal force to extract the oil via the turbines. I think that the bacteria that decomposes oil should have been implemented instead of Corexit, it may make this harder to contain the ecological and environmental damage that has already started.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Teri Broadstreet

    ..Frances Beland of the X Prize Foundation..since this disaster began.. all it has been about is Greed,Anger,Money,Finger pointing, and Blame!..That will never fix the problem. Because people are driven, by Greed and Money...,besides prayer, you're idea is the closest thing to a solution I've heard yet. I fully support your Genius idea, Thank you for trying to make a difference!

    Teri Broadstreet

    When Children Cry

    June 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. "Crude Solutions"

    I love a challenge. My 4 year old asked me on Fathers day "Daddy can you fix the oil spill" I said "Georgie, I will try my best"

    June 29, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kyle Galatro

    What is ACORN up to now? Watch the video at http://www.ACUACORNAction.org to find out what ACORN has become. Track former leaders to ensure that we know when ACORN attempts to create new groups using fake names to continue their work.

    June 29, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John dow

    place a very large needle about 600 feet start at a point of 12 inches up to diameter of top of blow out preventer and ratchet it down to the sea floor as it is lowered tye an eye to guide the needle about 100 feet up an when in place connect pipe to surface tanker

    June 29, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patti Gurley

    I suggest meet the spill with a high powered resistance to force it back to it's origin, likea powered blower engine

    June 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. donald neglia jr.

    place a larger pipe over the leak. start connecting lengths of self connecting/ self sealing lengths of pipe either at top water level and lower down to finish connecting at first larger pipe at the bottom, or start connecting the self connecting, self sealing pipe at the bottom and go up with the self connecting pipe to the top at water level. NOTE; since there is no re striction (open pipe) in the self connecting pipe; the 13,500 p. s. i. pressure of the oil/gas coming from the oiol leak sourcwill have little or no effect on blowing out the self connecting pipe provided you ensure that you maintain stability of the connecting pipe lengths as you start from the top and go down with the pipe connections, or start at the bottom and go up with the pipe connections.either way, once the connecting pipe reaches the top at water level and of course now that the oil is coming out at top at water level you can now commence to capture either all or almost all of the escapeing oil note: this process can also be done from shore to leak; or visa versa.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Will Barnes

    This is what I have designed to contain the oilspill in the Gulf --> http://www.willbarnesonline.com/2010-oil-spill-cleanup-image.jpg

    June 29, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Col


    Just 7·54 mins and you will have the REAL answer to this problem
    of cleaning up any and every oil spill ever.. and.. with NO residue.

    ffonz.. cool.gif

    June 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. advanthinker

    About time that some one came up with a good idea like the xprize to win this battle with the runaway well! now just where do i enter my idea, offered it for free but the numb nut at the coast guard, could not read, and wanted me to jump hoop,s with paper work, i offered them to see a working prototype. owell what would you expect from goverment. and by the way where do i sign up for this?

    June 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. William Nelson

    BP has more wax than anyone in the world, so why not use it to solidify the oil as it reaches the surface and let it go adrift as a non contaminating solid .Wax can be sprayed onto oil coated beaches then rolled up like a rug. Wax can be sprayed onto wetlands in a granulated form and the oil quickly removed. The wax used comes from the very oil gushing from the damaged well. These methods have been proven. Wax was used to remove oil from sand, rocks and tidal pools during the Passage Island spill in 1974, It was a nesting ground for hundreds of sea birds. Not one bird lost its life. This was also demonstrated for the US Coast Guard in 1979 during that spill in the Gulf of Mexico. If it worked then, then it will work right now.Stop wasting time. See these three videos showing this method, http://www.waxforpollution.com. I just returned from LA and demonstrated this method and a video will be released this week to the local media. Also view videos on Facebook, Wax For Oil Spills. The oil and wax can be recovered and the wax can be refined and used over and over until all the oil is removed. My E-mail addres is pu239eld@storm.ca Ph# 613 2671598 Thanx

    June 30, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tony

    Construct a concrete steel reinforced cone. Imagine it to look like an ice cream cone upside down with a section cut off from the pointed end that is now up. We would now have a hollow cone upside down, almost like a funnel. Four holes must be left opposite each other about a meter from the top with connectors for flexible pipes that will eventually transport quick drying concrete from a ship or barge down into the cone that will be lowered over the broken pipe. The size of this cone depends on how much area we need to cover around the broken pipe, but the walls of the cone should be about a meter thick with the bottom of the walls sharpened so when it gets to the sea bed it will sink in. It may be about four meters tall. About eight thick steel shafts must also be attached into the bottom of the cone at time of construction, these must be pointing down. At the lower end of these shafts there must be sand anchors. These anchors will be pushed into the sea bed by the weight of the concrete cone. The sand anchors should stop any up movement from the pressure of the oil and gas. The cone must now be lowered over the broken pipe and the oil will now gush out the top of the cone. Concrete must now be poured down the pipes from the barge. The concrete will seal off the bottom of the cone and attach itself to the broken pipe stopping any oil leaking out the bottom of the cone. Then continue to pour concrete until the shape of the cone forces the concrete to come together in and over the broken pipe. When the spill is sealed, another concrete ring, taller than the cone with one meter walls and sharpened bottom with the same shafts and anchors, must be lowered over the sealed cone. Once this is in place, concrete must be poured into the ring until the cone is also completely sealed. With all this weight it should now be safe with no leaks out the bottom. When all this is complete, a new rig can be constructed and, the concrete drilled and resume oil production. Since I first made this plan, more oil has started to flow out the pipe, so it will now have to be bigger. If you require a diagram, please send me an email address and I will send it to you
    . Tony Boshoff from Malawi Africa.

    July 1, 2010 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Guixian Lu

    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:

    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.

    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 10:07 am | Report abuse |
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