Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Scotland announces details of its $15 million Saltire Prize!

Awhile back, the Scottish government announced it's then $20 million Saltire Prize to harness the power of the oceans. Details were a bit fuzzy (there really weren't many more).

Today they have come up with some more specifics for what people have to do: "The award will go to the team that "successfully demonstrates—in Scottish waters—the best commercially viable wave or tidal technology capable of providing electricity to thousands of homes," according to Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond.

You can have a read about the prize on National Geographic's website:

It looks like prize incentives are becoming a serious part of the future of innovation. Which is just where we at the X PRIZE Foundation want them to be.

Anyone think they have an idea that can let them compete?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't believe this overly ambitious (to put it mildly) concept was well thought out - from the standpoint of would-be competitors. Clearly it would require an investment of many multiples the award amount and many, many years of effort (at least 10) to come even close to the 100GwH of energy to be generated in the first attempt. This - likely - unattainable goal, will either guarantee that Scotland will never have to make good on any payment (while costing entrants many millions) and will exclude ALL individual, small, and medium size entities from participating, since any viable (single) device will cost at least $1-10M to develop and will probably not be successful. Since many of such devices would have to be built (and paid for) and work, simultaneously, and 'perfectly' for a continuous period of two years, I don't think that there are many investors that would take such a 'hugely risky' bet, for a payoff that would be a small fraction of the original investment. Wouldn't it be better to have a competition that would encourage as many innovative individuals and companies to participate, as possible, and make this an annual competition that would award smaller prizes over many years (until a clearly preferred method(s) is/are found)? Then there could be many smaller prizes awarded annually and 1-3 'grand prizes' awarded after maybe a decade of such 'annual' competitions and investigations. Of coarse, this would require that the 100GhW 'bar' be reduced to something much more reasonable, like 1GhW/year, and that this annual goal be estimated over a 1-week long competition period.

I would like to see dozens of technologies competing at the same time, with financing being a rather minor consideration and requirement. Only then would this competition truly serve the stated intention of seeking the very best technological approach from ANYWHERE in the world, instead of 'something' that only a huge corporation could possibly underwrite, or one that might give preference to a Scottish technology .