May 1, 08
X Prize Announces $100 Million for Clean Energy Innovation

In its most ambitious and broad ranging move yet the X Prize Foundation will divide up some $100 million for transformations in biofuels, clean aviation fuel, energy storage, the provision of basic utilities for developing nations, and other categories.

X Prize CEO Peter Diamandis says innovation is not happening fast enough, is not necessarily concentrated in the right areas, and is excluding the needs of the developing world. If the U.S. had declared energy independence a goal after September 11, "we would be there" already, Diamandis asserted in a telephone interview.

Diamandis thinks rapid breakthroughs are possible. "There is an incredible amount of brilliance and technological ability around us," he says.

The foundation has not yet announced the full details on the new prizes but has given a general outline of the guiding principles of the new challenge, which include:

• A positive influence on global warming
• Progress toward clean, green, renewable energy
• Equity of opportunity and the fair division of resources, including disparities across
gender, geographic and ethnic distinctions
• Global impact

We will actively pursue prize concepts that promote a world where energy is no longer a source of conflict and pollution, such that energy will someday be:
• Affordable and abundant
• Clean and renewable
• Used efficiently and equitably

We will actively pursue prize concepts that restore environmental balance, such that:
• Carbon emissions are declining
• Forests and habitat are secure
• Industry and commerce are accomplished sustainability
• Healthy air, water and living conditions are available to all

Focus areas are domains that are both "rich" and "stuck." They are rich in potential to dramatically enhance our use of energy, but they are stuck and require rapid progress to solve our planet's urgent challenges. The chart below provides an overview of top-level energy categories. From this larger landscape we are selecting Focus Areas for further investigation.

Preliminary recommendations for Focus Areas include:
• Alternative generation Energy efficiency
• Building and housing Energy storage
• Carbon

For each Focus Area, we will determine:
• The state of the art – where is of technology today?
• The state of the possible – what is conceivable in the next few decades? What
goal, if reached, would define a true breakthrough?
• The problem statements – what are the fundamental problems impeding
progress? What is stuck? What is blocking a major breakthrough in this area?