Elon Musk has announced that he is donating $100 million towards a prize for the best technology that can capture carbon dioxide. Musk, who overtook Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person this month, made the announcement on Twitter late Thursday, saying he would share more details next week. Carbon capture is the process of trapping waste carbon dioxide either directly from the air, or just before it gets emitted from factories and power plants.

“Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” Musk tweeted to his 42.7 million followers.

Carbon capture is the process of trapping waste carbon dioxide either directly from the air, or just before it gets emitted from factories and power plants. With the latter, the first step is often to install solvent filters on factory chimneys, which catch the carbon emissions before they’re released into the Earth’s atmosphere. Once captured, carbon dioxide can then be shipped or piped somewhere it can’t escape from (often deep underground) to prevent it contributing to global warming. Most of the captured carbon dioxide remains underground, but some of it can also used to make plastics and fizzy drinks.

The prize that Musk has said he will contribute to is connected to the Xprize Foundation, TechCrunch reported, citing an anonymous source. The foundation is a nonprofit that puts on competitions to promote and support innovation. According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Musk has a total net worth of $201 billion, while Bezos has $193 billion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is the next wealthiest person, with a total net worth of $134 billion.

Musk recently asked his Twitter followers what he should do with his money.

“Critical feedback is always super appreciated, as well as ways to donate money that really make a difference (way harder than it seems),” he tweeted Jan. 8.

 

(WRC)