Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he’ll donate $100 million to anyone who creates the best carbon capture technology.
Musk signaled he was organizing a competition to make the goal a reality. “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” he tweeted. “Details next week.”
Musk is a vocal critic of fossil fuel use, which is causing the planet’s atmosphere and oceans to warm. It’s also why he’s running Tesla, a company that makes electric cars. “We know we’ll run out of dead dinosaurs to mine for fuel and have to use sustainable energy eventually, so why not go renewable now and avoid increasing risk of climate catastrophe?” he tweeted in 2018.
Earlier this month, Musk also briefly became the world’s richest person, alongside Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Musk’s net worth is now estimated at around $180 billion, thanks to his shares of Tesla. As news of his net worth circulated, Musk tweeted out on Jan. 7 that he was looking to donate some money to a cause that would “really make a difference.”
Still, the reaction to Musk’s prize idea hasn’t been entirely welcoming. Users on Twitter were quick to point out that the best carbon capture method isn’t a technology, it’s trees, which can be easily planted.
However, Musk is likely looking for a technological solution that can pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and reuse it for fuel. Musk also leads SpaceX and he’s previously floated the idea of extracting carbon dioxide from the air, and then mixing it with water to create rocket propellant. The fuel could then be used to launch space flights on both Mars and Earth.