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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 DAC Prizes offer up to $115 million split among three prizes: the DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize, the DAC Pre-Commercial Tech 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 Three Prizes?

Recognizing that there are numerous steps involved in moving an innovation from idea to marketable product, the DAC Prizes are split into three separate but connected programs, each addressing a different phase of the commercialization 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 Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize

The DAC Pre-Commercial Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize awards 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 Pre-Commercial 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: Design It, Move It, and Prove It.

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


DAC Pre-Commercial Technology Prize

The DAC Pre-Commercial Technology Prize awards cash prizes 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: Dream, Design, and Develop. Each phase requires compounding progress of the team's DAC technology development.

Learn more about the DAC Pre-Commercial Tech Prize on HeroX, the official prize platform.


DAC Commercial Prize

The DAC Commercial Prize awards cash prizes to teams that already have a technology that can capture CO2 and scale it up to achieve a removal target.

Teams will win increasingly larger prizes as they successfully scale up their DAC technologies over the course of four phases. Each phase requires compounding progress of the team’s DAC technology development.

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

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 check back for official rules in early 2023.


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 PrizeFollow the Commercial Prize
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