If you watch the winning videos for the so-called “Crazy Green Idea” video contest, developed by the X-Prize foundation to find topics for a new X-Prize contest, you’ll quickly realize that the ideas are not — in any way, shape or form — wild and crazy at all. No geoengineering plots to re-ice the Arctic, blueprints for massive space mirrors to reflect sunlight, or plans to tweak trees to suck up more CO2. Yep, they’re all proposals for serious, slightly geeky, and very important energy problems.
And the winner, announced yesterday, is rightly so, the most reasonable of all — the capacitor challenge. The team asks the audience to solve the problem of energy storage by creating an advanced, cheap capacitor that has no toxic chemicals. The device has to exceed the energy density of lead acid batteries, fully recharge in under one minute and for up to 500,000 cycles, and cost less than two times the price of average lead acid batteries. Wow, inventors who could enter that contest would already have a revolutionary device that could transform handheld gadgets and vehicles. Check out the pitch that won $25,000 via the most YouTube votes: