CDI Columbia University Only New Directions Applications Open - Application Period Closes January 22, 2024 at 10:00am (Eastern)

All Other CDI Program Applications Closed Friday, November 3rd, 2023.

CDI aims to position New York State as a global carbontech hub, facilitating collaboration between academia, private businesses, and the public sector to create, validate, and launch cutting-edge solutions that capture, transport, and convert different forms of waste carbon into a diverse array of valued products and services in a climate-beneficial way. We are actively soliciting applications for four programs from projects in the following three topic areas:

  • CO2 Capture Technology
  • CO2-to-Building Materials
  • CO2-to-Chemicals, Fuels, & Materials

Applicants whose technology fits CDI’s Technology Scope are encouraged to apply to the program appropriate for their level of development needs and technology readiness level. 

CDI will award grants across four programs, three research programs and one commercialization program. Awards and contract terms vary by program. Details of each program and the application process steps are provided below: 

CDI's research programs will advance the research needed to underpin development of technologies that enable harvesting of carbon from the environment and from waste streams and converting it for use in widely-used products. CDI will focus on accelerating technology from benchtop to commercialization through three competitive research programs. 

Propel Carbontech

Propel Carbontech will award a total up to $500,000 in grant funds annually to between four and eight projects focused on CDIs eligible technologies (see below) at Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 2-3. Teams must be external to Columbia University.

  • Individual project awards: $50,000 to $150,000.
  • Project Duration: 12 to 18 months. 
Carbontech Leap (Columbia University only)

Carbontech Leap will award a total up to $500,000 in grant funds annually to a minimum of two projects that focus on CDIs eligible technologies (see below) and are at Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 2-3. This program is open to applicants who are core faculty members of the Columbia University Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy.

  • Individual project awards: Up to $250,000
  • Project Duration: 36 months
New Directions (Columbia University only)

New Directions is focused on groundbreaking research promoting new and high-risk ideas on shorter-term projects. New Directions will consider only highly aspirational, promising, and risky projects. CDI will also prioritize New Directions projects that, owing to their interdisciplinary nature or novelty, may have difficulty soliciting support from other external science research funding sources. New Directions provides support for Columbia University research teams for 6-12 month research projects on carbontech within CDI's technology scope.

Bridge Carbontech

CDI's Bridge Carbontech program will support research teams and startups at mid-stage (TRL 4-6) and later-stage (TRL 6-9) commercialization focused on CDI's eligible technologies (see below). Successful applicants will receive non-dilutive grant funding that pays for the costs to advance their commercial readiness which, depending on the stage of the company, could include prototypes, in-field testing, marketing, design, accounting, legal and other costs, as well as salary support to add senior personnel. Successful applicants will also go through a rigorous training program consisting of three training activities: bootcamps, skills labs and workshops tailored to support the carbontech focus of the program. Successful applicants will enumerate business and technical milestones corresponding to addressable barriers and will develop a work plan to develop essential tools for ensuring that achieved milestones translate into durable practices. The overall goal of the program is to strengthen New York State as a global carbontech hub by facilitating the creation, validation, and launch of cutting-edge solutions. 

Bridge Carbontech will award a total up to $1,687,000 in grant funding for up to six projects annually. Teams must be external to Columbia University.

  • Individual project awards: $287,500 to $375,000.
  • Project Duration: 12 to 24 months. 


Applicants should apply to the appropriate CDI research or commercialization program and conform to the eligibility criteria for the program to which they apply. Applicants may apply to only one program per project.

All projects must either be located within New York State or have a demonstrated benefit to New York State. A demonstrated benefit to New York State means the project involves business or related activity that teams are involved with in New York State. Examples of activities that represent a demonstrated benefit to New York State include:

  • Having some portion of an organization’s workforce (beyond at least one employee), such as research and development, manufacturing, and/or sales, based in New York State; and/or
  • Benefiting supply chain partners, vendors, investors, and/or service providers in New York State; and/or
  • Having an addressable market of current or future customers within New York State.

The following table outlines eligibility criteria. 

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible Technologies

CDI will fund projects that fall within defined topic scopes, organized around three technology areas, representing the carbontech areas most likely to stimulate a nation-leading carbontech innovation and commercialization ecosystem in New York State.

Research and commercialization efforts in this topic area aim to further discoveries for carbon capture using novel materials and systems to harvest CO2 from the environment (i.e., air and ocean). Efforts may also aim to advance CO2 capture by enabling key New York State industries to decarbonize using feedstocks from current waste streams (e.g., waste-to-energy (WTE) and cement plants). Point source CO2 capture technologies targeting fossil fuel burning power plants, however, are excluded.

Technology Area 1 efforts may fall under any of the following subtopics:

Direct air capture (DAC)
  • Materials with long-term stability (e.g., enhanced oxidative thermal stability and tolerance to moisture)
  • DAC system with a low pressure drop
  • The innovative use of renewable energy for sorbent regeneration
  • The integration of DAC and CO2 conversion
Direct ocean capture (DOC)
  • Different reaction pathways (e.g., electrochemical) to harvest CO2 from ocean and their impacts on the ocean chemistry
  •  The integration of DOC with carbon mineralization and ocean alkalinity addition
CO2 capture from waste-to-energy and cement plants
  • Effects of varied CO2 concentration and impurities on CO2 capture materials and systems
  • Integration of CO2 capture with resource recovery and CO2 utilization 
Innovative sorbent regeneration technology
  • The innovative use of renewable energy via non-thermal energy transfer (e.g., targeted heating using microwave, RF heating, etc.) for sorbent regeneration
  • Novel reactor design

Construction materials represent an important market for CO2 utilization, since the built environment can store large amounts of carbon at climate-relevant scales. This TA will investigate the conversion of different local feedstocks (i.e., WTE ash and construction wastes from New York State) to building materials with reduced carbon intensity and improved performance to drive a scalable and sustainable construction industry in New York State. Technology Area 2 efforts may fall under any of the following subtopics:

Carbon mineralization of waste
  • Materials such as WTE plant ash, waste concrete, mine tailings, etc. to produce solid carbonates and other solid by-products as sustainable building materials with lower carbon intensity
CO2 curing of concretes
  • Efforts to reduce the overall energy requirement to incorporate CO2 into building material
Mg-based construction materials
  • Materials R&D and performance evaluations compared to Ca-based materials (e.g., Mg(OH)2 production from ocean and MgCO3 production from waste materials and minerals)

As renewable energy becomes affordable, chemical industries can harness renewable energy and convert CO2 rather than fossil carbon to produce chemicals, fuels, and materials. CO2 conversion technologies require focused and sustained R&D in areas such as catalysis, novel materials, and separations as well as their effective integration. Technology Area 3 efforts may fall under any of the following subtopics:

Electrochemical conversion of CO2
  • Catalyst development
  • Novel electrolyte design for combined CO2 capture and conversion
  • Effects of varied CO2 concentration and impurities
  • Integration of electrochemical CO2 conversion with downstream bioconversion reactor
Dual-functional materials
  • Materials that host both CO2 capture and conversion via tandem reactions (e.g., thermochemical, electrochemical, carbon mineralization reactions)


Applicants whose technology fits CDI’s Technology Scope are encouraged to apply to the program appropriate for their level of development needs and technology readiness level.

CDI's second solicitation round opened September 18th, 2023 and is now closed. Applications are being accepted through10:00am (Eastern) Monday January 22nd for the New Directions program which is open to Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences faculty only.

Applications will be evaluated by a scoring committee and competitively awarded. 

Applicants can apply in the Submittable portal by clicking the "Apply Here" button below.

Program request for proposals (RFP) are available below and contain important additional information about the programs. Applicants are encouraged to review the program RFPs prior to beginning their application. 

For further assistance with the application process, please contact [email protected].

Application Resources

Solicitation Schedule

Application Resources: