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DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize

Regional incubators develop creative and impactful plans to support entrepreneurs and innovators in the direct air capture (DAC) space.

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Summary

Overview

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. 

Prize Structure

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. 

Think 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. 

Move It

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. 

Prove It

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.  

Guidelines

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, 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

Timeline

Challenge Timeline

start
Dec. 13, 2022, 7:29 a.m. PST
Date Launched
March 9, 2023, 9:01 a.m. PST
Enter
Phase 1 'Think It', Official Launch and Prize Open
April 12, 2023, noon PDT
Phase 1 'Think It' Kick Off Webinar
Phase 1 'Think It' Kick Off Webinar. More details to come.
June 22, 2023, 2 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Phase 1 'Think It', Submission Deadline at 5 pm ET
Aug. 14, 2023, 5 a.m. PDT
Enter
Phase 2 'Move It', Anticipated Launch and Prize Open. Subject to change.
Aug. 31, 2023, 4 a.m. PDT
Won
Phase 1 'Think It', anticipated winner announcement. Subject to change
Feb. 22, 2024, 2 p.m. PST
Submission Deadline
Phase 2 'Move It', Anticipated Submission Deadline at 5 pm ET
Feb. 22, 2024, 11 p.m. PST
Judging
March 8, 2024, 2 p.m. PST
Judging Closed
April 17, 2024, 3 p.m. PDT
Enter
Phase 3 'Prove It', Anticipated Launch and Prize Open
June 16, 2024, 8:40 a.m. PDT
You are here
Nov. 13, 2024, 2 p.m. PST
Enter
Phase 3 'Prove It', Anticipated Submission Deadline at 5 pm ET
finish
Jan. 14, 2025, 2 a.m. PST
Won
Anticipated Winner Announcement.
Updates12

Challenge Updates

Finalists Announced in DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize

April 17, 2024, 8:45 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management announced five finalists for the Direct Air Capture (DAC) Pre-Commercial Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize. The DAC EPIC Prize offers $3.7 million in cash prizes to incubator teams that submit creative and impactful plans to support entrepreneurs and innovators in the DAC space. 

The finalists will each receive $300,000 in cash prizes for successfully progressing toward plan implementation in the Move It Phase of the prize.

Congratulations to our finalist teams:

  • Activate Global, Inc., Berkeley, California 
  • Airminers, San Mateo, California
  • gener8tor DAC Accelerator, Chicago, Illinois 
  • The Newlab DAC Slingshot Program, Louisiana 
  • Radicle Development Center, Malvern, Pennsylvania

The finalist teams will move on to the Prove It Phase, where they will compete for a grand prize of $750,000 or a runner-up prize of $250,000. 

The DAC EPIC 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 DAC EPIC Prize competition on energy.gov

 


Phase 1 Rules Modification #1 Posted: Semifinalist, Eligibility, and Appendix Updates

Aug. 28, 2023, 8:44 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The official rules for Phase 1: Think It of the DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize have been modified, including clarifications to number of semifinalist teams and added eligibility and appendix details. All modifications can be see in a list on page 2 of the rules document. Modifications are also highlighted in yellow in the document and can be referenced by individual page number included below. 

  • Pages 8, 15: Number of semifinalist teams selected in Phase 1: Think It changed from twelve (12) to thirteen (13)
  • Pages 13-14: Added details to Eligibility section
  • Page 36: Added details to Appendix 1: Additional Terms and Conditions

 


Semifinalists Announced in DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize

Aug. 28, 2023, 8:38 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management announced 13 teams as semifinalists for the Direct Air Capture (DAC) Pre-Commercial Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize. The DAC EPIC Prize provides $3.7 million in cash prizes to incubator teams that submit creative and impactful plans to support entrepreneurs and innovators in the DAC space. 

The semifinalists, representing 10 states, will each receive $100,000 in cash prizes for their winning concepts in the initial Think It Phase of the prize.

Congratulations to our semifinalist teams:

  • Activate Global, Inc., Berkeley, California 
  • LabStart Innovations Inc., Boulder, Colorado 
  • Airminers, San Mateo, California
  • Black & Veatch; IgniteX DAC Accelerator, Overland Park, Kansas
  • Newlab and Yale Carbon Containment Lab, Brooklyn, New York 
  • The University of Arizona Center for Innovation, Tucson, Arizona
  • Tribuquent; TerraDAC Project, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Carbon 2 Value Initiative; Greentown Labs, Urban Future Labs, Fraunhofer USA, Houston, Texas
  • Columbia University; Carbontech Development Initiative, New York City, New York 
  • Expanding Frontiers, Brownsville, Texas
  • Radicle Development Center, Malvern, Pennsylvania
  • Cleantech Open Northeast, Somerville, Massachusetts
  • gener8tor DAC Accelerator, Chicago, Illinois 

The semifinalist teams will move on to the Move It Phase, where up to five finalists will each win $300,000 and move on to compete for a grand prize of $750,000 or a runner-up prize of $250,000. 

The DAC EPIC Prize is part of the American-Made DAC Prizes, a suite of separate but connected prizes that were developed to address the numerous steps involved in moving an innovation from idea to market. 

Read more about the semifinalists and learn about the DAC EPIC Prize competition on energy.gov

 


Deadline Alert: DAC EPIC Prize Applications Due Today!

June 22, 2023, 8:36 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Direct Air Capture (DAC) Pre-Commercial Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize “Think It” Phase applications are due today by 5 p.m. ET!

  • 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, contact the prize administrators at .

Don't miss you chance to compete for your share of $3.7M in cash prizes and elevate the DAC industry. 

Submit your application before 5 p.m. ET. 

NOTE: This deadline is specifically for the DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize. ONLY DAC EPIC Prize applications should be submitted to this HeroX page.

 


Apply Now for the DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize

June 20, 2023, 1:10 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize deadline is only two days away on June 22! 

NOTE: This deadline is specifically for the DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize. ONLY DAC EPIC Prize applications should be submitted to this HeroX page.*

The DAC EPIC prize is only open to incubator organizations and programs that aid in the development of new business ventures for DAC entreprenuers. 

*If you are interested in the DAC Pre-Commercial Technology Prize, follow and apply at  https://www.herox.com/DAC-pre-commercial-tech


Forum15
Teams281
Entries
Resources
FAQ