Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize

Office: Carbon Management
Learn More: DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize
Prize Amount: $3.7 million

Background Information

On August 28, 2023, U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today announced 13 semifinalists to receive a total of $1.3 million for commercialization programs that support technologies to reduce carbon dioxide pollution by removing it directly from the atmosphere. Advancing developments in carbon dioxide removal, including direct air capture technology, is imperative to attaining the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic climate and clean energy agenda.

Direct air capture is a process that separates carbon dioxide from the air, helping to reduce the level of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. The separated carbon dioxide can then be safely and permanently stored deep underground or converted into useful carbon-containing products like concrete that prevent its release back into the atmosphere.

The DAC EPIC Prize sponsors incubator teams that provide creative and impactful solutions that support entrepreneurs and innovators in the direct air capture space. Incubators and accelerators help break down barriers that innovators and entrepreneurs face when they develop new technology. From mentorship and networking to prototyping assistance and intellectual property management, incubators can accelerate economic development, strengthen innovation, and expand domestic carbon-removal technology development and manufacturing.

Each semifinalist team will receive $100,000 in cash prizes and is eligible to advance to the “Move It” Phase of the prize competition to demonstrate momentum toward implementation of their solutions. “Move It” Phase winners will advance to the final “Prove It” Phase, where they are asked to demonstrate the success of their solution implementation and compete for a grand prize of $750,000 and runner-up prize of $250,000 in cash awards.

This funding is provided from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Sections 41005a.


The competition received many high-quality submissions, leading to the award of 13 semi-finalists instead of 12 as initially planned. This is a testament to incredible work that clean-tech incubators are doing to support carbon removal technologies.

Map of DAC Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize Winners

Semi-finalist teams and their winning solutions include:

  1. Activate Global, Inc. — Berkeley CA: Layers new, targeted direct air capture programming into an existing entrepreneurial fellowship to support three to five new direct air capture startups yearly, including direct recruitment of diverse direct air capture founders leveraging generative artificial intelligence  and natural language modeling.
  2. Impossible Labs, Inc. (Airminers) — San Mateo, CA: Kickstarts a DAC Pioneers program offering that gives direct air capture startups resources and DOE national laboratory partnerships with a focus on environmental justice, leveraging a network of more than 2,000 members that support carbon removal startups.
  3. Black & Veatch Corp. (Black & Veatch +RTI International — IgniteX DAC Accelerator) - Overland Park, KS: Advances the development and commercialization of hard-tech direct air capture and carbon removal technologies, regardless of development stage, through access to expertise, a network of clients and partners, and mentorship.
  4. Greentown Collaborative (Carbon 2 Value Initiative) — Houston, TX: Supports equity-driven direct air capture and carbon management technologies from innovation to deployment, enabling direct air capture startups to engage with the carbontech value chain.
  5. NECEC Institute Inc. (Cleantech Open Northeast) — Somerville, MA: Helps innovators establish product-market fit and connect with experts who can accelerate technologies from lab to pilot through a 10-week program.
  6. Trustees of Columbia University (Carbontech Development Initiative) — New York City, NY: Provides technology development grants and accelerator training to direct air capture innovators, emphasizing whole-team training rather than focusing on startup executives. 
  7. Expanding Frontiers Corp. — Brownsville, TX: Empowers local entrepreneurs to tackle challenges through recruitment of both staffing, innovators, and subject matter experts with the goal of bringing up to five new innovations to the market in three years.
  8. gener8tor Management LLC (gener8tor DAC Accelerator) — Chicago, IL: Will invest $100,000 per company in five direct air capture startups in the first year and guide them through the process with individualized coaching, mentorship, networking, and supporter access.
  9. LabStart Innovations Inc. — Boulder, CO: Creates accessible pathways for entrepreneurs to bring direct air capture technology from national labs to market, including recruitment, assistance with funding, stipends, and industry resources.                                                
  10. Newlab LLC — Brooklyn, NY: Developed the DAC Slingshot Program to accelerate the development of direct air capture technologies by providing targeted and differentiated support and addressing barriers to formation and lab-to-pilot innovations.
  11. OxiCool, Inc. (Radicle Development Center) — Malvern, PA:  Treats hardware development as a specialized skillset and matches physical infrastructure with an experienced team of engineers to catalyze the build out of promising direct air capture technology.
  12. Tribuquent Corp. (TerraDAC Project) — Tulsa, OK: Advances direct air capture technologies with the purpose of fostering climate restoration and a sustainable future through research and development, funding, lab resources, community partnerships, and business development.
  13. Campus Research Corp. (University of Arizona Center for Innovation) — Tucson, AZ: Supports direct air capture innovators by providing online training and expertise, connections, incubation programs, facilities, and resources.


Eligible applicants include private entities (for-profits and nonprofits) and academic institutions.

Read the official rules for more information on eligibility.


The DAC EPIC Prize offers up to $3.7 million in prizes to successful incubator competitors.

The DAC EPIC Prize is a three-phase competition for incubators to propose new programming within incubators to support innovators working on equitable, hard-tech DAC solutions. Cash prizes will be awarded to those teams that make the most progress and impact over the course of the prize competition period.

Pre-Commercial EPIC Prize Funding Table


An informational webinar was hosted on April 12, 2023 at 3:00PM ET to discuss this prize as well as the competition rules and eligibility.

Key Dates

Phase 1 Official Launch and Prize Open 03/09/2023
Phase 1 Kick Off Webinar 04/12/2023 at 3:00 PM ET
Phase 1 Submission Deadline 06/22/2023


Last Updated: August 28, 2023