First place $1 Million winner Elastec / American Marine with their achievement of 4670 gpm (at 89.5% efficiency), reached more than 3 times the industry’s previous best oil recovery rate tested in controlled conditions.
Second place $300,000 winner NOFI with their achievement of 2712 gpm (at 83% efficiency), reached more than two times the industry’s previous best oil recovery rate tested in controlled conditions.
Third Place will not be awarded as no third team met all of the challenging minimum targets of the competition. The X PRIZE Foundation’s competitions set targets that are on the boundary of audacious and achievable in order to inspire breakthrough innovation. The fact that, in the short timeframe of the competition’s timeline, two teams exceeded our requirements in this competition and that several other teams came very close shows that that balance was properly struck in this X CHALLENGE. We congratulate all of the Finalist teams on their efforts to achieve the audacious goals of this competition. The X PRIZE Foundation and Wendy Schmidt have agreed to redirect the $100K from the un-awarded third place prize purse to the X PRIZE Foundation’s development of future competitions that would address one of the many challenges still facing the protection of our oceans, coastlines, marine life, and coastal economies, such as oil spill cleanup.
The X PRIZE Foundation’s competitions set targets that are on the boundary of audacious and achievable in order to inspire breakthrough innovation. In the case of this competition, we asked our finalist teams to finish and ship their systems a short one and a half months after they found out they were selected as Finalists this spring. We asked those teams to more than double the industry’s previous best oil recovery rate tested in controlled conditions by exceeding 2500 gallons per minute (with at least 70% efficiency of oil collected over water).
We believe we struck just the right balance of a target that was both audacious and achievable…in a rapid timeframe, this competition drove true innovation and breakthroughs evident in the accomplishments of teams:
- 2 teams significantly exceeded both 2500 gpm and 70% efficiency
- 7 teams exceeded the industry’s previous best oil recovery rate tested in controlled conditions
- 7 teams beat our target 70% efficiency number and 5 of those exceeded 85% efficiency
We congratulate all of the Finalist teams on their efforts to achieve the audacious goals of this competition.
Our judging panel of industry experts was impressed that the vast majority of the Finalist Teams built systems not just designed to succeed in field testing and win the competition, but rather systems designed with the goals of the competition in mind…real-world application, ease of deployment and decontamination, and consistency of performance in varied conditions.
We expect these new and novel mechanical solutions to have a real impact on the industry by becoming tools in the toolkit of the industry. As our Judge Don Toenshoff, MSRC Executive Vice President, stated: “There is likely not one “silver bullet” technology. The key is to have enough tools in the toolkit so that went you are faced with a certain situation, or type oil, you can then go to the right tool.” he says. While the industry may need to turn to dispersant, absorbant, or in-situ burning solutions in some situations, many surface spill situations can be addressed through use of varied mechanical solutions such as these designed for particular environmental conditions.