The Direct Air Capture (DAC) Pre-Commercial Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize awards up to $3.7 million in cash prizes to 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.
Accelerating Just and Sustainable Carbon Management Solutions
The DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize (DAC EPIC Prize) is part of a suite of interconnected competitions in the American-Made DAC Prize program. Understanding that there are several steps to move from an idea to a marketable product, the DAC Prizes are a suite of prizes that work together to advance carbon dioxide removal technologies and the incubators that make this process possible.
Incubators play a critical role in helping transition direct air capture technologies from an idea to a marketable product, through design support, connections with industry resources, business strategy assistance, and much more. The DAC EPIC Prize supports solutions that have the potential to accelerate regional economic development, strengthen national innovation capacity, and expand domestic carbon removal manufacturing and technology development.
Who Can Compete?
Incubator organizations and programs that aid in the development of new business ventures, business accelerators, co-working startup communities, or any other organizations that self-identify as advocates for innovation and entrepreneurship are encouraged to compete.
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.
Competitors in this phase design an impactful, novel plan that focuses on the program requirements. The plan should address:
The framework for meeting program requirements and what support gaps it addresses
How the team will recruit and enable entrepreneurs and innovators to launch and improve direct air technology businesses
Proposed metrics to evaluate its success, and more.
Only winners of Think It are eligible to compete in Move It. Teams move their solutions forward by demonstrating momentum for implementation, including:
Progress toward implementation
Recruiting entrepreneurs and innovators
Building a support and resource network
Collecting metrics to measure success.
Only winners of Move It are eligible to compete in Prove It. Competitors prove the success of solution implementation, including:
Metrics and documentation that demonstrate success
A plan to drive long-term growth
A strategy for sustained commercialization and support.
Please review the official rulesfor the complete application process and instructions for competing.
If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, follow this HeroX page, , or email prize administrators directly at .
Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, the DAC Prizes suite is supported by the National Energy Technology Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Learn more about the DAC Prizes.
The Direct Air Capture (DAC) Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize is officially open! This prize is now accepting submissions from incubator teams who develop impactful plans to support direct air capture entrepreneurs and innovators.
The prize, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, provides up to $3.7 million in prizes for solutions that will reduce commercialization barriers for DAC technology innovators. It supports both emerging and established DAC incubators and accelerators in implementing solutions to develop strong clusters, resources, and connections for energy startups and entrepreneurs.
Teams win increasingly larger prizes as they progress through the three phases of the prize: Think It, Move It, and Prove It.
The deadline to apply for the Think It phase is June 22 at 5 p.m. ET. Learn more about specific eligibility requirements by reading the official DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize rules and following this HeroX channel for updates on the competition. Interested participants can join prize administrators for an informational webinar on April 12 at 3 p.m. EDT for information about competition rules, eligibility, and more, as well as a live Q&A session. Register here.