Tuesday, January 23, 2007

update on energy prizes

The automotive X Prize and the government H Prize are discussed by Alan Boyle. This article gives an update on what has been happening as attempts are made to kick off these energy prizes. I guess the automotive X Prize seems to make more sense to me, since it doesn't come with a predefined idea of what the solution to the problem is. Check out the discussions after the article, too. One of the comments describes some of the advantages of well-designed technology prizes. Alan also posts a link to an article by Robert Zubrin (president of the Mars Society which is sponsoring the Mars Rover prize, and author of The Case for Mars which discusses Mars-related technology prizes). This article contrasts hydrogen cars and a policy of mandating that all cars support ethanol, methanol, and regular gas (a subject he wrote about about the time of the LAST State of the Union address). It doesn't mention prizes for either approach, but you can think of ways to design prizes to achieve real energy goals so that only technologies that are actually demonstrated to not have serious drawbacks like the ones he suggests for hydrogen are able to win the prize.