Funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will drive innovation, commercialization, and growth of key technologies to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today announced up to $35 million, made available through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, to advance technologies that reduce emissions from hard-to-abate sectors such as aviation and shipping and legacy carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution by removing it directly from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide removal is a key component for achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic climate and clean energy agenda. The Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Purchase Pilot Prize will enable companies to compete for the opportunity to sell carbon dioxide removal credits directly to DOE. This will help build standards for successful carbon dioxide removal programs and create a market to encourage technology innovation and the growth of the industry.

“The CDR Purchase Pilot Prize represents the first time the United States federal government will purchase high-quality carbon removal credits from commercial-scale activities,” said Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “It will define how to evaluate success for carbon dioxide removal technologies and how purchase contracts can advance innovation, all while addressing environmental, climate, and community priorities.”

CDR Purchase Pilot Prize Applications Now Open

The CDR Purchase Pilot Prize marks a historic milestone for the carbon dioxide removal sector. Specifically, this prize initiates a first of a kind effort for the U.S. government to serve as the customer for carbon dioxide removal credits, supporting commercial carbon dioxide removal companies over several phases for delivery of the highest quality carbon dioxide removal technology offerings.

The prize will provide up to $35 million in cash awards in the form of offtake agreements from the federal government in four carbon dioxide removal pathways:

  • Direct air capture with storage
  • Biomass with carbon removal and storage
  • Enhanced weathering and mineralization  
  • Planned or managed carbon sinks

The prize asks applicants to develop carbon dioxide purchase agreements through a pilot project delivering third-party verified carbon dioxide removal. Private entities (for-profits and nonprofits) and academic institutions who meet requirements are eligible to apply. Up to 10 teams will be chosen as grand prize winners, with each team receiving a purchase award prize of up to $3 million.

Phase 1 of the CDR Purchase Pilot Prize is currently accepting applications through November 30, 2023. In addition, Phase 2 and Phase 3 prize rules are available for comment through October 31, 2023.

DOE’S Direct Air Capture Prizes

The American-Made DAC Prizes, sponsored by FECM and administered by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, support direct air capture technology advancement for decarbonization with a focus on incorporating environmental justice, community benefits planning and engagement, equity, and workforce development. The prize suite consists of separate but related competitions that work together to advance direct air capture and other carbon dioxide removal technologies from ideas to market-ready, scalable, and impactful commercialization.

The new Commercial DAC Prize will offer up to $100 million in prizes and technical assistance through two competition tracks: the CDR Purchase Pilot Prize announced today, and the Commercial DAC Pilot Prize, which is planned to launch in FY 2024.

The prize suite also includes the Pre-Commercial Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize and Pre-Commercial Technology Prize, both launched in March 2023. DOE recently announced 13 semifinalists to receive a total of $1.3 million under the first phase of the DAC EPIC Prize.

Learn more about the Commercial DAC Prize on the American-Made Challenges website. View the CDR Pilot Purchase Prize Track Official Prize Rules and follow updates on upcoming information webinars and other resources on the prize’s HeroX page.

FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across our economy. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM websitesign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the National Energy Technology Laboratory website.