Turning lemons into lemonade: world’s scientists compete to put CO2 pollution to good use

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record. One of the biggest culprits in climate change is carbon dioxide or CO2.

What if, instead of letting that carbon gas escape, we could harness it to do something beneficial?  

The XPRIZE Foundation – a non-profit organization that offers financial rewards to solve global challenges – has called scientific thinkers around the world to enter The Carbon XPRIZE competition.

20 million dollars will go to the inventors of the winning practical technology that puts CO2 emissions to good use.

Take Two's Alex Cohen talks about the Carbon XPRIZE and some of the competing innovations with Paul Bunje, Principal and Senior Scientist of the Energy and Environment group at XPRIZE.

Paul Bunje: We at XPRIZE, we are interested in targeting the world's grand challenges -what are the biggest problems or opportunities. We use this model of rewarding innovators, people who can create some amazing break through with massive amounts of cash to incentivize people to do it. If we are going to be about grand challenges, climate change is among one of the biggest threats that the planet faces and so said, this is something we have to target.

The team that converts the most Carbon Dioxide that's coming out of a power plant into products that have the highest value that you can sell into the marketplace wins.

These quotes have been edited for clarity.

You can follow the competing Carbon XPRIZE technologies at carbon.xprize.org.