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Direct Air Capture Prizes logo

Direct Air Capture Prizes

The American-Made Direct Air Capture (DAC) Prizes are a suite of prizes that work together to advance carbon dioxide removal technologies and the incubators that make this process possible. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, the suite of DAC Prizes include the DAC Pre-Commercial Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize, and the DAC Pre-Commercial Technology Prize, and the DAC Commercial Prize.

What is Direct Air Capture?

Direct air capture (DAC) technologies capture and separate carbon dioxide (CO2) from the accumulated pool in the atmosphere and will be a critical tool to counterbalancing the hard to decarbonize sectors (e.g., agriculture, shipping and aviation) in order to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas goals. This approach is very technically challenging compared to point-source carbon capture systems that prevent additional emissions from being released, e.g., from power plants or industrial facilities.

Why a Suite of Prizes?

Recognizing that there are numerous steps involved in moving an innovation from idea to marketable product, the DAC Prizes are split into separate but connected programs, each addressing a different phase of the pre-commercial process. Competitors choose which prize best fits where they are in the innovation process, work to achieve milestones, and win cash and other incentives along the way.

Together, the DAC Prizes strengthen our country's energy prosperity and advance just and sustainable decarbonization efforts.

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DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize (DAC EPIC Prize)

The DAC EPIC Prize awards up to $3.7 million in cash prizes to regional incubator teams that submit creative and impactful plans to support entrepreneurs and innovators in the DAC space and create meaningful community engagement. It aims to support both emerging and established direct air capture incubators and accelerators in implementing those plans to develop strong clusters, resources, and connections for energy startups and entrepreneurs.

The DAC EPIC Prize follows the structure of the original EPIC Prize, created by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions, but applies a carbon capture focus to the competition. Teams win increasingly larger prizes as they make the most progress and impact over the course of three phases: Think It, Move It, and Prove It.

Learn more about the DAC EPIC Prize on HeroX, the official prize platform.

Phase 1

Think It

Think Up an Incubator Program

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Phase 2

Move It

Move Program Toward Implementation

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Phase 3

Prove It

Prove Program Success

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DAC Pre-Commercial Technology Prize (DAC Technology Prize)

The DAC Technology Prize awards up to $3.2 million in cash prizes and $800,000 in technical assistance and support vouchers to teams that identify a critical need in the DAC industry, develop a solution to address this gap, and test the idea to a degree of scale. It aims to focus on the steps of ideation and entrepreneurship needed to prepare a technology and business for commercialization.

Teams will win increasingly larger prizes as they successfully meet technology milestones over the course of three phases: Develop, Design, and Deliver. Each phase requires compounding progress of the team's DAC technology development.

Learn more about the DAC Technology Prize on HeroX, the official prize platform.

Phase 1


Develop a Solution

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Phase 2


Design a Proof of Concept

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Phase 3


Deploy the Technology

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Who is Eligible to Compete?

Each prize has its own set of eligibility requirements. For more information, please see each prize’s HeroX page and review the official rules.

DAC EPIC Prize Rules

DAC Technology Prize Rules

Solutions that help shape the future

Are you ready to advance carbon dioxide removal technologies or incubators? Join the challenge by following the DAC Prizes on HeroX, the official prize platform.

Follow the Pre-Commercial EPIC PrizeFollow the Pre-Commercial Tech Prize
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