Oak Ridge National Laboratory
CONTACT Karen Dunlap

The licensing of ORNL-developed direct air capture, or DAC, chemistry to Holocene and Anca Timofte’s participation in Innovation Crossroads have been recognized by the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) with an Excellence in Technology Transfer Award.

This technology has several benefits over existing DAC technologies, including lower energy requirements, lower temperature needed to release the captured CO2, reusable chemistry that decreases costs and simple, scalable processes and equipment.

The technology was licensed by Holocene, a startup co-founded by Anca Timofte. Timofte has a clear vision for the company, taking advantage of relevant opportunities to ensure the success of Holocene.

Timofte joined Cohort 2022 of DOE’s Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program node at ORNL, Innovation Crossroads, as well as the Spark Incubator Program, an entrepreneurial support program at the University of Tennessee Research Park’s Spark Innovation Center. She is also a Breakthrough Energy fellow.A commercial license agreement was signed in 2022. As part of the Innovation Crossroads program, Holocene entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with ORNL and is currently advancing the technology from the bench scale to pilot scale demonstrations. Holocene is working side by side with ORNL researchers, performing experiments that will better inform the construction of their first plant.

Thanks to this effort, by the end of the decade, Holocene will have scaled their carbon capture process three times using off-the-shelf equipment and will be removing 500,000 to 1 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year.

ORNL honorees include Dan Miller, Innovation Crossroads program lead; Kelly Wampler, Innovation Crossroads business specialist; Alex DeTrana, senior commercialization manager; and Jose Zavala, a former ORNL commercialization manager. Timofte, CEO and co-founder of Holocene, also is named in the award.


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1943, the laboratory is now sponsored by the United States Department of Energy and administered by UT–Battelle, LLC. Established in 1943, ORNL is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system by size and third largest by annual budget. The lab’s motto is “Solving Big Problems”.


Holocene is a direct air capture (“DAC”) technology developer and carbon removal service provider harnessing organic chemistry, and the abundant elements therein – carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen – to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere in support of restoring the climate stability and prosperity of our namesake, the Holocene Epoch. Holocene is proud to call some of the biggest names in direct air capture and climate tech commercialization as partners — including Breakthrough Energy, XPRIZE, Frontier Climate, Stripe, Shopify, Klarna, the DOE, and more.