Climate Vault - Awards for Innovative Carbon Dioxide Removal Projects - Request for Proposal


Climate Vault provides market-based solutions for eliminating carbon emissions and removing CO2 from the atmosphere while stimulating innovation through competitively funding carbon dioxide removal (CDR). This Request for Proposal (RFP) is for applicants who wish to apply for carbon dioxide removal funding from Climate Vault in the form of grants. As of October 2021, Climate Vault is able to provide grants for up to 560K metric tons.


Climate Vault is a Delaware registered nonprofit nonstock company founded at the University of Chicago by a team led by economist Dr. Michael Greenstone. Its mission is to significantly reduce CO2 emissions—the leading cause of climate change—and accelerate innovation in CDR technologies.

The Climate Vault approach is one of the simplest ways to achieve net-zero. This is done by purchasing carbon permits from cap-and-trade compliance markets and vaulting them so emitters can’t use them. Because the number of permits is capped, this decreases the amount of global carbon dioxide pollution allowed by government regulators.

Our purchases are based on how much carbon our donors are aiming to offset. And because Climate Vault uses existing markets, the cost of the offset is transparent and easily verified. Climate Vault’s impact goes beyond carbon reductions to support carbon removal.

Climate Vault is creating the world’s first eco-system for CDR by competitively awarding funding to permanently capture CO2 from the environment to spur the innovation required to make these technologies economically viable in the long term. Climate Vault will do this by purchasing emissions permits from CO2 cap-and-trade markets and “Vault” the permits. Climate Vault will award successful CDR applicants funding for an equivalent mass of carbon removed with the value of the award being based on the market price of Climate Vault’s held carbon permits.

Climate Vault has recruited a group of science and technology experts (the Climate Vault Tech Chamber) to provide strategic oversight for the evaluation of CDR applications. The Tech Chamber includes:

  • Ernest Moniz, President and CEO, Energy Futures Initiative (Chair)
  • Steve Pacala, Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University
  • Margaret Leinen, Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
  • Cathie Woteki, Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University
  • John Deutch, Emeritus Institute Professor, MIT

Who Can Apply

This RFP is open to CDR technologies across the following pathways:

  • Terrestrial (Ecological/ecosystems, Agricultural, Biological, Plant cultivars, Soil carbon)
  • Technological (BECCS, DAC, Ex situ and In situ Mineralization, Soil Additions)
  • Oceans (Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE), Abiotic, Electrolytic, Biotic, Blue Carbon, Macroalgae)

The technology should be ready for demonstration while the project’s GHG emissions reductions should be quantifiable and verifiable. Multiple applications are not allowed for a single technology.

Who Can Not Apply

At this time, the RFP is not open to afforestation or reforestation CDR projects. Climate Vault will continually monitor progress in this market space and re-evaluate this position as conditions warrant.


The process to apply for carbon dioxide funding via a grant from Climate Vault is as follows:

  • Respond to the questions outlined in this RFP, respecting the maximum number of words indicated
  • Submit the completed application to Note: this is an open RFP without a specific submission deadline, and submissions will be reviewed within 60 days of being received.
  • The Climate Vault Tech Chamber will evaluate the application. Selected applicants may be asked for additional information.
  • Following the submissions of additional information, if required, the Climate Vault Tech Chamber will confirm applicants for a Technical Review. The Technical Review will be carried about by a third party that is charged with independently verifying the information provided in the RFP and the associated follow-up questions.
  • Upon a successful technical review, the application will be presented to the Climate Vault Board of Directors to confirm an award.

Applicants will be kept informed of the status and timing of actions at each stage of the application review and award process.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be selected for additional information and move on to the Technical Review based on six general criteria:

  • The novelty of their technology solutions and business models
  • The potential for the technology to be replicated at a scale that could make a material contribution to achieving economy-wide net neutrality
  • The likelihood (based on technical and economic feasibility) that the project can deliver the expected metric tons in a quantifiable manner within the proposed timeframe
  • The extent to which a Climate Vault award increases the likelihood of a successful project, including the potential for additionality (i.e. increasing the level of carbon removal relative to the level that would be achieved in the absence of an award)
  • The disposition pathway for the carbon removed from the environment has a permanence of at least 50 years
  • The extent to which the project also advances environmental and social objectives

Submission and Awards

The window for applications is open-ended.  There is no specific submission deadline. Submissions will be reviewed as received, Climate Vault plans to make awards at least semi-annually.

Update January 27th, 2022: In line with the semi-annual award cycle, the deadline for applicants to participate in the next award cycle, expected mid-2022, is February 15th, 2022. If you wish to be considered in this round of awards, please submit your completed RFP response no later than 5:00 pm Pacific time on February 15th, 2022. Applications received after this time will be part of a subsequent award cycle.

The award of a grant will not be exclusive.  Climate Vault may award grants to multiple organizations that meet the defined criteria.

Awards will be in the form of carbon allowances held by Climate Vault, with no more than one ton of permits awarded for each ton of CO2 to be removed by the proposed project.  Climate Vault intends to award permits on a basis of performance, e.g. one ton of permits will be released upon validation that one ton of CO2 has been removed by the project.  Climate Vault will consider releasing a portion of the permits to be awarded in advance on a justified case-by-case basis.

Intellectual Property Protection and Confidentiality

Applicants should avoid submitting proprietary information in an RFP as much as possible and clearly mark that which is included but for which protection is desired.

Patentable ideas, trade secrets, proprietary or confidential commercial or financial information, disclosure of which may harm the applicant, should be included in an application only when such information is necessary to convey an understanding of the proposed project. The use and disclosure of such data may be restricted, provided the applicant includes the following statement in the sections that contain such information:

“The following contains proprietary information that (name of applicant) requests not be released to persons outside of Climate Vault, Inc., except for purposes of review and evaluation.”

Further Information

If you require further information or clarification, please send a note to

RFP Questions

Please download the questions here: RFP Questions

Please note the specific instructions included at the top of the file.