The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced an investment of $1.3 million to propel innovations in direct air capture (DAC) technology aimed at combatting carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution.
Thirteen semifinalists have been selected for the DAC Pre-Commercial Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize, an initiative designed to boost DAC technology through support for entrepreneurs and startups, DOE said in a statement Monday.
Funded by FECM and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the award is aimed at expediting the growth of DAC technologies, which have the potential to stimulate economic growth and enhance domestic carbon removal.
The funding, which will support efforts to directly remove CO2 from the atmosphere, is crucial for meeting the climate targets outlined by the Biden-Harris Administration.
Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, emphasized the significance of this investment, stating, “To meet our net-zero ambitions, we must rapidly commercialize and scale carbon dioxide removal. That is why accelerating the direct air capture industry is so important.”
The winners in the “Think It” phase of the competition have demonstrated expertise in converting DAC ideas into market-ready products by leveraging strategic design, industry networks, and business strategies, Crabtree explained.
The list of semifinalists includes Activate Global, Inc., Airminers by Impossible Labs, Inc, Black & Veatch +RTI International — IgniteX DAC Accelerator by Black & Veatch Corp., Carbon 2 Value Initiative by Greentown Collaborative, Cleantech Open Northeast by NECEC Institute Inc., Carbontech Development Initiative by Trustees of Columbia University, Expanding Frontiers Corp., gener8tor DAC Accelerator by gener8tor Management LLC, LabStart Innovations Inc., Newlab LLC, Radicle Development Center by OxiCool, Inc., TerraDAC Project by Tribuquent Corp., and the University of Arizona Center for Innovation by Campus Research Corp.
Each initiative will receive a cash injection of $100,000 and the right to advance into to the “Move It” phase of the competition to demonstrate the implementation of their solutions, before the final “Prove It” Phase with a grand prize of $750,000 and runner-up prize of $250,000 in cash.