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Prize to USA and International Individuals and Teams to Recognize Innovative Solutions for Reducing Aircraft Emissions

Brilliant Minds for Pure Blue Skies


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
Conference Date: 11/08/23
Deadline: 12/14/23 5:00 PM ET Save

Grant Description
Prize to USA, territories, and international individuals and teams to recognize innovative solutions for reducing harmful aircraft emissions. The funding source seeks ideas that are relatively sustainable, technically plausible, safe, and lead to results. A key feature of the challenge is to enable future development of the winning solutions through collaboration with American academic institutions.

NASA seeks novel, revolutionary ideas that directly address the harmful emissions produced by narrow and wide-body aircraft during flights that last longer than two hours. Ideas that boldly break away from conventional thinking and take aviation to a future where aircraft are benign to the environment.

NASA is focused on eliminating or mitigating the harmful effects of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxides (NOx), nvPM (non-volatile particulate matter / soot), water, and other emissions. While Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) holds promise, they are looking for something beyond SAF – unique, sustainable solutions that minimize emissions at their source. Ideas that do not merely offset emissions but rather redefine the way aircraft operate, embracing green technology and out-of-the-box thinking, are of immense value. 

Challenge winners may have the chance to partner with NASA and a US-based academic institution to develop their ideas further.

At minimum, your submission must contain the following information to be considered eligible:

  • A plausible technical method for significantly reducing or completely eliminating harmful emissions from flights of 2 or more hours (737 class or larger vehicles),
  • Quantified estimates of the benefits that can be achieved, and
  • A credible demonstration plan for researching and testing how the proposed solution could be viable.

You may propose potential university partners that you already have a working relationship with, groups who you do not yet know but who would be knowledgeable around your solution, or you may request NASA's support in finding an academic partner. 


Additional Eligibility Criteria
The Prize is open to anyone age 18 or older participating as an individual or as a team. Team captains and individual (solo) competitors must originate from the U.S. as a citizen, legal permanent resident, or asylum grantee.

Further team members may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (see:

If you are a U.S. Citizen, Green Card holder, or have been granted asylum within the U.S., then you can submit your idea outright without any additional partners at this stage. If you are a foreign national, you will have to partner with a U.S entity or institution who will then serve as the Team Captain for your submission.

You are required to ensure that all releases or transfers of technical data to non-US persons comply with International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 C.F.R. §§ 120.1 to 130.17.

No specific qualifications or expertise in the fields of Aviation or Energy is required. Prize organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Ideas cannot add some new harmful emission or be unsafe for widespread use.

If your idea involves concepts like lithium-Ion batteries, liquid hydrogen, cracked ammonia turbines, or fuel cells you may not win as there is active research on these fuels and sources in aviation.

If you are a NASA employee, a Government contractor, or employed by a Government Contractor, your participation in this challenge may be restricted.

Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.

All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.

For additional restrictions, see Challenge-Specific Agreement:

Pre-Proposal Conference
Join the Brilliant Minds for Pure Blue Skies webinar on Nov 8 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada). Register:

Pre-Application Information
- Challenge Launch (Open to submissions): September 28, 2023
- Submission deadline: December 14, 2023 @ 5pm ET
- Judging: Jan 4 to Feb 8, 2024
- Winners Announced: Feb 15, 2024

This challenge allows multiple submissions per individual/team. Should you have multiple entries to submit to this challenge, they will be considered separately. Whether or not multiple entries from the same individual or team may be chosen for a prize is up to the discretion of the Challenge Sponsor. You do not have to submit multiple entries to this challenge to be eligible for a prize.

By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to adhere to the HeroX Intellectual Integrity Policy and promises to submit only their original idea.

Team Matching:

Intellectual Integrity Policy:

Information Webinar Recordings:

Live Q&A webinar recording - You can access it here:

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant
Prize Breakdown:
- 1st Place: $15,000
- 2nd Place: $10,000
- 3rd Place: $3,500
- Judges Choice (x2): $750

All award winners will receive a framed 16" x 20" copy of a Space Shuttle poster. The poster was created by Matt Melis, a highly accomplished NASA engineer who led the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation's testing of the shuttle's leading edge failure. Matt recently retired from the NASA Glenn Research Center and is a Shuttle enthusiast who has given talks around the world on the shuttle program's history and vehicle system technical details. The poster was never for sale and can be viewed as a collector's item with very little distribution.

Contact Information
Submit ideas via the Full Grant Text RFP.

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