American-Made Challenges


DAC Commercial CDR Purchase Pilot Prize

Teams develop and fulfill innovative, technically robust, validated, and commercial-scale CDR purchase agreements.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed



The Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize (CDR Purchase Pilot Prize) offers up to $35 million in cash awards to teams that provide impactful CDR concept proposals, develop and refine these plans, and ultimately deliver their specified CDR credits. 

Building the Foundation for Just, Sustainable, and Scalable Carbon Management 

The CDR Purchase Pilot Prize marks the first initiative by the U.S. Federal Government to directly purchase CDR from domestic providers. Through this prize, the Department of Energy will establish precedent for the level of rigor required to successfully evaluate CDR technologies and demonstrate how CDR purchase contracts can catalyze innovation while strengthening America’s CDR objectives.

The CDR Purchase Pilot Prize is one of two tracks in the $100 million Commercial DAC Prize and part of a suite of interconnected competitions in the American-Made DAC Prize program, which advances DAC and CDR technologies and markets, as well as the incubators that support DAC entrepreneurs. The Commercial DAC Prize builds on the progress made through the DAC Pre-Commercial Prizes (launched in March 2023), as well as historic and ongoing DOE investments in applied DAC and CDR research and development.  

CDR solutions are critical for meeting climate goals, and the CDR Purchase Pilot Prize aims to innovate 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 technological innovation and accelerated growth of the industry.

The prize is open to four CDR technology pathways (see the Official Rules document for definitions for each of these pathways) :

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

Who Can Compete: 

Eligible competitors must offer CDR that is removed and sequestered within the U.S., including Tribal Nations, and U.S. Territories, or associated federal or state waters. Competitors or teams who meet eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply to the initial phase of the prize (see the Official Rules for eligibility criteria). Diverse, multidisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged; competitors interested in collaborating can connect on HeroX on the “Teams” page.  

Prize Structure

Teams will win increasingly larger awards as they make progress over the course of three phases. Each phase requires compounding progress in the CDR purchase agreement and delivery process.

Phase 1 requirements:

  • Design a CDR Credit Concept Proposal, outlining key contract terms and other key information.

Phase 2 requirements

  • Only winners of the Phase 1 are eligible to compete in Phase 2
  • Refine, advance, and structure their CDR offtake agreement plan
  • Draft and submit a binding offer to DOE for the purchase of CDR within the Purchase Pilot Prize Timeline.

Phase 3 requirements 

  • Only winners of Phase 2 are eligible to compete in Phase 3 
  • Deliver the verified CDR committed to DOE on the scheduled timeline and criteria established within the contract structure and agreed-upon requirements.


Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please follow this HeroX page, subscribe to the American-Made Newsletter, or email prize administrators directly at 

Note: As of September 29, 2023, the Official Rules document contains the rules for Phase 1 of the CDR Purchase Pilot Prize. It also includes draft rules for Phases 2 and 3 of the CDR Pilot Purchase Prize. The draft rules for Phases 2 and 3 are not binding and are open to public comment through 10/31/23 (comments can be sent to ).



Challenge Updates

CDR Purchase Pilot Prize Rules Modification 4 Now Available!

June 11, 2024, 7:38 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The official rules of the Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Purchase Pilot Prize have been modified! 

Modification 4 includes the following:

  • Revisions to Sections 1 and 2 
  • Phase 2 Official Rules
  • Phase 3 Official Rules 
  • Updated Appendices 1, 5, 6, and 12 

You can find the latest version of the rules on the Resources tab

Semifinalists Announced in CDR Purchase Pilot Prize

May 28, 2024, 10:09 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management announced 24 semifinalists for the Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Purchase Pilot Prize. The CDR Purchase Pilot Prize offers up to $35 million in cash awards to teams that provide impactful CDR concept proposals, develop and refine these plans, and ultimately deliver their specified CDR credits. 

The semifinalists will each receive $50,000 in cash prizes for their winning Phase 1 concept submissions in their respective area of interest (AOI): direct air capture and storage (DAC), biomass carbon removal and storage (BiCRS), enhanced rock weathering and mineralization, and planned and managed carbon sinks. 

Congratulations to our semifinalist teams (listed by AOI)!

DAC with Storage:

  • Avnos, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Carbon America (Arvada, CO) 
  • CarbonCapture, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA) 
  • Climeworks (Austin, TX)
  • Global Thermostat and Fervo Energy (Brighton, CO) 
  • Heirloom (Brisbane, CA)
  • 1PointFive (Houston, TX) 
  • 280 Earth (Palo Alto, CA) 
  • 8 Rivers (Durham, NC)

BiCRS Technologies:

  • Arbor Energy (El Segundo, CA) 
  • Carbon Lockdown (Silver Spring, MD)
  • Charm Industrial (San Francisco, CA)
  • Clean Energy Systems (Rancho Cordova, CA)
  • Climate Robotics (Houston, TX)
  • Graphyte (Pine Bluff, AR) 
  • Vaulted Deep (Houston, TX)

Enhanced Rock Weathering/Enhanced Mineralization Technologies:

  • Alkali Earth (Northfield, MN)
  • CREW Carbon (New Haven, CT)
  • Eion (Princeton, NJ)
  • Lithos Carbon (Bellevue, WA)
  • Mati Carbon (Houston, Texas)

Planned or Managed Carbon Sinks:

  • Ebb Carbon (San Carlos, CA)
  • Equatic (Santa Monica, CA)
  • Vycarb Inc. (Brooklyn, NY)

The semifinalist teams will advance to Phase 2, where up to 10 winners will each be awarded $375,000. Phase 2 winners will progress to Phase 3, where they will sell and deliver their CDR credits to DOE. 

The CDR Purchase Pilot Prize is part of the American-Made DAC Prizes, a suite of separate but connected prizes that address the barriers to moving direct air capture innovations from idea to market. 

Read more about the finalists and learn about the CDR Purchase Pilot Prize competition, as well as other DOE carbon management programs, on


Today! CDR Purchase Pilot Prize Application Deadline!

Dec. 14, 2023, 11:41 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Today is the Commercial Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Purchase Pilot Prize deadline. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. ET! 

Be sure that you’re familiar with the Official Rules and what’s expected of each submission.  

Questions? Stream the informational webinar, visit the HeroX Forum or email the prize team at .  

Good luck! 

Only 3 Days Left to Submit Your CDR Purchase Pilot Prize Proposal!

Dec. 11, 2023, 12:53 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

The deadline to submit to the The Commercial Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Purchase Pilot Prize is this Thursday, December 14 by 5 p.m. ET! Be sure to submit your Phase 1 proposals as soon as possible. 

Don't miss your chance to compete for up to $35 million in cash awards and advance the CDR industry.

Important prize resources: 

 We highly encourage submitting before the December 14 deadline to avoid any technical difficulties.   

We look forward to receiving your CDR Purchase Pilot Prize proposals!

Commercial CDR Purchase Pilot Prize Deadline Dec. 14

Dec. 1, 2023, 11:14 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

The Commercial Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Purchase Pilot Prize Phase 1 submission deadline is two weeks away!

The CDR Purchase Pilot Prize is accepting submissions until 5 p.m. ET on December 14. 

As a reminder, Phase 1 teams should include the following in their submissions:

  • Cover Letter (one page; will be made public)
  • CDR Credit Concept Proposal, including three sections: 
    • Project Overview: The proposed CDR technology, including LCA, TEA, additionality, carbon storage mechanism, anticipated volume of CDR to be delivered, and MRV protocol or methods, including prospective independent MRV partners or verifiers.
    • Technology or Project Development: Plans for site selection, project development, resource and material procurement, and contingency planning.
    • Network, Team, and Resources: The core capacity of the team developing the CDR project as well as credibility and expertise of the proposed independent third-party MRV implementation group.
  • Letters of Commitment or Support (optional)

We highly encourage submitting before the deadline to avoid any technical difficulties. Anyone interested is encouraged to apply. Be sure to view the Official Rules before submitting to ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria and understand the requirements of the submission materials. 

If you have any questions about the prize requirements or regarding your specific submission, please contact the prize administrators at .