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Direct Air Capture Commercial Prize logo

Direct Air Capture Commercial Prize

The American-Made Direct Air Capture (DAC) Prizes are a suite of prizes that work together to advance DAC and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies and markets, as well as 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, the DAC Pre-Commercial Technology Prize, both of which launched in March 2023, and the Commercial DAC Prize.


What is Direct Air Capture and Carbon Dioxide Removal?

Direct air capture (DAC) and CDR technologies capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from 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.

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 and advance domestic decarbonization efforts.

image of air capture ideas in segments.

What is the Commercial DAC Prize?

The Commercial DAC Prize will build on the progress made through the DAC Pre-Commercial Prizes, as well as historic and ongoing DOE investments in applied DAC and CDR research and development. The Commercial DAC Prize offers up to $100 million in prizes and support to be split among two competition tracks: the CDR Purchase Pilot Prize and the Commercial DAC Pilot Prize (Launch date: TBD). Together, these tracks leverage CDR purchasing contracts and new DAC pilots and to advance the DAC industry and other CDR technologies.

Phase 1

Write a CDR Credit Concept Proposal

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Phase 2*

Advance and Refine Proposal

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Phase 3*

Deliver CDR Credits

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* Phase 2 and Phase 3 draft rules open for comment

CDR Purchase Pilot Prize

The CDR Purchase Pilot Prize marks the first initiative by the U.S. Federal Government to directly purchase CDR from domestic providers. It offers up to $35 million in cash awards and purchase agreements to teams that provide impactful purchase contract designs, commercial CDR supply offerings, and commitment to delivery requirements.

CDR solutions are critical for meeting climate goals, and the CDR Purchase Pilot Prize aims to innovate and evaluate how governments can structure offtake agreements with CDR project developers in a robust, transparent, and competitive manner. In addition, the prize supports the development of a CDR purchasing market, encouraging technology innovation and accelerated growth of the industry.

The prize is open to four CDR technology pathways:

  • Direct Air Capture
  • Biomass (BiCRS) technologies
  • Enhanced geological weathering and enhanced mineralization technologies
  • Planned and managed carbon sinks

Teams will win increasingly larger awards as they make progress over the course of three phases, which include CDR purchase proposal concept papers (Phase 1), sample purchase contracts (Phase 2), and finalist awards for CDR successfully delivered and verified (Phase 3).

Learn more about the CDR Purchase Pilot on HeroX, the official prize platform.

Commercial Pilot Prize (Launch date: TBD)

The Commercial DAC Pilot Prize will provide awards over multiple phases to construct first-of-a-kind DAC pilot facilities that meet capture capacity requirements. Please note: This prize has not launched.

Who is Eligible to Compete?

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

a graphic illustration of air capture.

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.

Join the Competition