The XPRIZE isn’t about money. It’s about improving our odds in the race against climate change.


Something I’ve learned in this race is that healing the climate is complicated. Like really really complicated. As the saying goes, it is easier to make a mess than to clean it up, and society has already gone down the easy route. Fossil fuels built up our society and economy, but they also wreaked havoc on our climate systems, something we were late in considering.

Cleaning up this mess is a wicked combination of innovation and scale, both of which need to be done FAST. We won’t find perfect, magic wands that allow us to just “fix” the climate. Our solutions will end up being huge systems that require large infrastructure investments and that can be customized to fit available resources. 

And we need to get there much sooner than a traditional technology scaling process.

The carbon removal sector is ripe for expansion – we have many great technologies as shown by the XPRIZE competition. But they need to be proven and scale quickly. 

Scaling innovation moves at the speed of trust. To scale quickly, we must quickly build trust. The scale of investment in climate technology is directly correlated to the level of trust that we have in that technology. 

That investment might come from funders who need trust to find conviction in picking winners in an emerging technology space. The investment may come from employees – trusting that the dedication of their time and talents to this solution will allow them to make the impact they want on their lives and on the world. The investment may come from society in general, trusting that the solution is being developed responsibly, and that its potential risks are more than balanced by its potential for positive impact. 

The XPRIZE is helping us create that trust. 68 top experts from industry, engineering, science and investment, have validated the technology of the 15 winners. In essence, the prize says “we believe that these solutions have the ability to go the distance.” It shows confidence, based on deep diligence, that carbon removal technology will scale and that these companies can be trusted.

That’s the big impact of the XPRIZE.

While XPRIZE is the largest public platform to validate Planetary’s work so far, it doesn’t have a monopoly on creating trust at speed. 

Now we have a responsibility to all of these amazing partners to live up to our goals, take that trust and turn it into a successful climate solution and business. 

We look forward to doing this every day and it means the world to us that so many people believe in what we are doing. 

And to those who are working on this problem alongside us, thank you – we’re all in this together.


About the Author

More Than Money: The Real Value of XPRIZE

Mike Kelland