This map shows mean (average) net emissions and removals of carbon dioxide from 2015 to 2020 using estimates informed by NASA’s OCO-2 satellite measurements. Countries where more carbon dioxide was removed than emitted appear as green depressions, while countries with higher emissions are tan or red and appear to pop off the page. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/

U.S. DOE Announces $1.2 Million To Accelerate America’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Industry

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Twenty-four Semifinalists Selected for DOE Historic Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Prize Will Create a Just and Sustainable Framework for Scalable Carbon Management and Help Develop a Carbon Dioxide Purchasing Market to Encourage Technology Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced 24 semifinalists to receive a total of $1.2 million to scale up their carbon dioxide removal technologies. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize allows companies to compete for the opportunity to deliver carbon dioxide removal credits directly to DOE. Carbon removal credits can be purchased by any individual or entity that is interested in responsibly managing their past and/or future carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This program will help catalyze the development of carbon dioxide removal markets, demonstrates rigorous monitoring, measurement, reporting, and verification practices through third-party scientific validation, and it provides a model for workforce and community benefits for high-quality credits.

“The Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Prize is a first-of-a-kind initiative to catalyze the market for high-quality CO2 removal credits, helping jumpstart a critical decarbonization tool,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Through this prize and the Administration’s new Policy Statement and Principles on Voluntary Carbon Markets, we are giving the private sector the tools they need to make real contributions to our fight against the climate crisis and deliver real benefits to communities across the nation.”

Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize Semifinalists 

The Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize provides up to $35 million in total cash awards in the form of Carbon Dioxide Removal Credit Purchase Agreements from DOE. The twenty-four semifinalists will receive $50,000 each to help scale a diversity of carbon dioxide removal approaches across four pathways:

  • Direct air capture with storage: nine projects focus on processes or technologies that capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere for permanent storage underground or in long-lived products;
  • Biomass with carbon removal and storage: seven projects use plants and algae to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for permanent storage underground or in long-lived products;
  • Enhanced rock weathering and mineralization: five projects remove CO2 through reaction with alkaline materials such as calcium- or magnesium-rich crushed rocks; and
  • Planned or managed carbon sinks: three projects focus on natural and artificial approaches in terrestrial and upper hydrosphere environments with demonstrable durable storage consistent with secure geologic storage or equivalent.

Learn more about the semifinalists and their winning Phase 1 programs here.

The semifinalists were selected by a team of technical experts at DOE and National Labratories after detailed evaluation of project technical, business, and community benefit plan proposals that include the input and feedback from local communities. Semifinalists will now compete in Phase 2 of the prize where they will produce a carbon dioxide removal credit purchase contract, including measurement, reporting, and verification standards and commercial off-take terms. Up to 10 semifinalist teams will be chosen as grand prize winners, with each team receiving a Carbon Dioxide Removal Credit Purchase Agreement award of up to $3 million for the sale of their credits to DOE.

DOE’s Broader Carbon Dioxide Removal Initiatives 

This announcement marks a step forward for the Carbon Negative Shot, DOE’s cross-cutting effort to advance high-quality, affordable carbon dioxide removal at scale. The Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize complements DOE’s suite of carbon dioxide removal programs driving technological innovation and responsible deployment. Importantly, the Prize structure embraces partnership with growing private sector demand for carbon dioxide removal credits by asking semifinalists to elicit private sector purchases. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management recently announced its intent to create a Voluntary Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchasing Challenge to provide resources and recognition for organizations that purchase high-quality carbon dioxide removal credits. DOE’s Prize purchases would appear in the Challenge and be joined by purchases made by other organizations buying from the Prize semifinalists or other high-quality carbon dioxide removal credit suppliers. Organizations interested in purchasing from the Prize semifinalists should contact them directly and read more about the resources and recognition available through the Challenge.

DOE is also funding a wide range of innovation programs supporting commercialization of carbon dioxide removal. A selection of such efforts includes:

  • Direct Air Capture Hubs
  • Carbon Negative Shot Pilots
  • Marine carbon dioxide removal pilots and measurement, reporting, and verification programs
  • National Lab measurement, reporting, and verification development efforts
  • Co-chairing Mission Innovation’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Launchpad

This broad spectrum of carbon dioxide removal-related innovation activities will ultimately bolster the supply of carbon dioxide removal credits for future government and voluntary private sector purchase efforts. These efforts are a critical piece of DOE’s contribution to broader U.S. Federal Government efforts to support the emergence of high-quality carbon credits.

DOE’S Direct Air Capture Prizes 

The  American-Made Direct Air Capture 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 community and labor engagement, creating high-quality jobs, and providing economic and environmental benefits to affected communities. The prize suite consists of four but related competitions (with a focus on both pre-commercial and commercial initiatives) that work together to advance direct air capture and other carbon dioxide removal technologies from ideas to market-ready, scalable, and impactful commercialization.

The Commercial Direct Air Capture Prize, including the Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize and the upcoming Commercial Direct Air Capture Pilot Prize (expected to launch in FY 2024), anticipate offering up to $100 million in prizes and technical assistance across the two programs.

Learn more about the Commercial Direct Air Capture Prize on the American-Made Challenges website.

FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across the U.S. 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 website, sign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the  National Energy Technology Laboratory website.

News release from U.S. Department of Energy.


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