Frequently Asked Questions

Select a FOA to view questions and answers for the specific funding opportunity. Alternatively select "Non-FOA related items" to view system FAQ items.

Question 1: Our company has a patent for the production of high purity hydrogen and aluminum oxide. Our reactor produces one kilo of hydrogen in 30 min. I can see our reactor as a backup support system for a hydrogen gas station that uses on site electrolysis apparatus as the main stream of hydrogen production. Since electrolysis takes 24 hours to produce hydrogen, in case that a sudden need or demand on site is needed, our system could be used as a backup system for immediate production. Under what topic of this Funding Opportunity would this type of application be acceptable?
Answer 1:

DOE will not advise applicants as to whether or not they should apply, or as to which of the four topics listed in the FOA would be most appropriate for their application.  In accordance with Section V.A.1 of the FOA (page 33), DOE will perform an initial review to determine whether or not a proposed project is responsive to the objectives of the FOA.  This initial review will happen after the application due date.  In addition, in accordance with various parts of Section IV of the FOA, applicants must state the specific topic addressed by their application in the Public Abstract and on the cover page of the Project Narrative.

Question 2: Language pertaining to providing fuel cell range extenders for medium-duty trucks (Topic 1) states that the project is envisioned as a retrofit of battery electric trucks. However, there are thousands of diesel delivery trucks in fleets today that are not performing acceptably enough for service, and are therefore not being used. Given this opportunity to repurpose underperforming diesel engine delivery trucks, which represent a significant liability for large fleet operators, would converting them to all-electric trucks equipped with fuel cell range extenders qualify for funding?
Answer 2:

Diesel trucks that are first converted to all-electric drivetrains would be considered appropriate base vehicles for Topic 1 projects.  However, the diesel-to-electric conversion work itself would be out of scope.  The addition of a fuel cell range extender to the previously converted truck would be in scope.  In accordance with Section I.C of the FOA (page 5), DOE will not fund the cost of the base MD etruck and it cannot be used as cost share.  This prohibition would apply as well to the cost of converting a base diesel truck to an electric drivetrain.

Question 3: My thesis subject was designing and manufacturing of portable remover and biomass briquetting machine from argo and animal wastes which is a Combine harvester type. I am looking forward to conduct some research about optimization of briquette and energy consumption of the machine by mixing row material with oil and etc. I would really like to cooperate with your institution in this field if possible. Thanks for your time.
Answer 3:

Questions submitted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) must be directly related to the subject of the announcement. DOE will not answer solicitations for information.

Question 4: I am requesting a two-week extension to this opportunity’s submission due date, from July 11, 2013 to July 25, 2013. This proposal’s current due date of July 11, 2013 does not allow sufficient time to find and develop third-party partners to participate in the proposal to provide funding and cost share support. In many cases, state and municipal partners will be sought to provide cost share, and their availability during the July Fourth week is drastically limited. Similarly, commercial partners will also have limited availability in the crucial July Fourth week prior to the current submission due date. While larger businesses may be able to provide DOE’s required cost share with their own resources, smaller businesses that are trying to obtain third-party support for their proposed projects will be constrained by the current submission schedule. Therefore by providing additional time, DOE will obtain better-supported proposals from more small businesses and will see a broader scope of technologies in response to this announcement.
Answer 4:

DOE cannot grant extensions for individual applicants. If an application deadline extension is deemed necessary, an amendment to the FOA will be posted in Exchange prior to the current deadline.

Question 5: I am interested in applying for funding as a subrecipient for DE-FOA-0000828 on the topic 1: Demonstration and Deployment of Fuel Cell Hybrid-Electric Medium-Duty Trucks. Since the [NAME DELETED] is a federal agency and therefore can only apply for funding as a subrecipient, I would like to contact the Prime Recipients of this topic. Can you help?
Answer 5: DOE cannot facilitate the communication of potential subrecipients with potential prime applicants. We encourage you to formulate partnerships with entities within the industry to develop an application proposal. The partnership of subrecipient and prime shall be developed with the potential applicant(s) and submitted with the proposal.
Question 6: On page 19 of the FOA-828, it says “applicants are requested to submit a Letter of Intent”, however, “failure to submit such letters will not negatively affect a responsive application submitted in a timely fashion”. I am wondering if the Letter of Intent is mandatory or not.
Answer 6:

The purpose of the Letter of Intent is to allow DOE to gauge the response to the FOA and aid in planning the review of the full applications. The Letter of intent is requested, but not mandatory. Additionally, no feedback from DOE will be provided regarding the Letter of Intent.

Question 7: I am requesting an application deadline extension amendment to the FOA for all applicants. Question 4, my previous extension request, was submitted because all applicants are adversely affected by the application due date immediately following the Fourth of July holiday.
Answer 7:

If DOE decides to issue an application deadline extension, an amendment to the FOA will be posted in Exchange prior to the current deadline. Thank you for your concern and attention to this matter.

Question 8: The FOA states that “forecourt stations or dispensing sites selected for integration of a refueling component technology must provide both 350 and 700 bar dispensing pressures.” Would a response to the solicitation proposing funding for the development of compression technology that demonstrates both 350 and 700 bar dispensing capability, but was integrated into a station that provided only 700 bar dispensing for the demonstration phase, be considered a qualified application?
Answer 8:

DOE will consider a host site refueling station for component validation under Topic 2 that only offers 700 bar refueling.  The FOA will be amended with minor language changes to effect this decision.

Question 9: Will the Department of Energy consider hydrogen fuel cells which are supplied gaseous hydrogen by reforming a methanol water blended fuel for inclusion in this demonstration and case study or is gaseous hydrogen fuel the only allowed or otherwise preferred choice?
Answer 9:

For Topic 3, the case study and demonstration must focus on gaseous hydrogen solutions only.  Solutions involving other fuels, including onsite reforming of hydrocarbons to hydrogen, are not sought at this time.

Question 10: Would we qualify for this grant to install a solar-hydrogen electrolyzer system that would self-fuel the fuel cells (versus filling hydrogen tanks from trucks on the ground)? Our organization specializes in renewable hydrogen generation by electrolysis from Solar and Wind power. We have partnerships with solar companies and have extensive experience in rooftop solar installation. We could develop a system that self-fuels the hydrogen generators on the roof.
Answer 10:

For Topic 3, solutions involving onsite electrolysis are not sought at this time.  In addition, in accordance with Section I.C of the FOA (page 9), the goal of Topic 3 is to develop a case study for roof-top installations of hydrogen fuel cell backup power systems that refuel from the ground.

Question 11: Can you advise me on the issue concerning the deadline for FOA 828 and the significant time period required to register our company as directed in the FOA instructions?
Answer 11:

All registration and submission date information is included in the FOA document posted on the EERE Exchange website. Please review the FOA document, which was amended on 6/25/2013, for extension information.

Question 12: Much of the cost-share for this project can be achieved through operation and administration of the vehicles in Phase 2 – Deployment. However, there is a substantial upfront cost for vehicle development and one-off build in Phase 1 – Demonstration. Does the 50% cost-share requirement apply to each phase individually or can it apply to the overall project costs (Phase 1 and Phase 2)?
Answer 12:

Topic areas 1-3 require 50% cost share and Topic area 4 requires 20% cost share. The cost share applies to overall project costs, however recipients may not fall below the required cost share percentage at any time during the project. Thus projects may cost share above the required percentage in earlier phases and below in later phases, as long as the overall cost share meets the required percentage at all times during the project. Projects may not cost share below the required cost share percentage in earlier phases.

Question 13: In response to this solicitation we have assembled a strong team that includes a large shipping company interested in operating the fuel cell hybrid delivery vehicles, as well as one of the leading manufacturers of walk-in electric vans and a leading fuel cell power system company. This team has significant experience and a successful model for the development, build, and demonstration of fuel cell hybrid vehicles with off-the-shelf components. However, the barrier to our ability to develop the proposal is the following FOA restriction: “The cost of the MD eTruck, excluding the fuel cell and hydrogen storage system and its installation, is the responsibility of the MD eTruck user. DOE will not fund the cost of the base MD eTruck and it cannot be used as recipient cost share under this project.” While it is understood that DOE wishes to concentrate its investment on the fuel cell aspect of the program, the fuel cell is not independent of the hybrid electric powertrain and the near-term and ultimate commercial success of the fuel cell truck is very dependent on an appropriately sized battery, power electronics, and electric-drive configuration. Hence, there are a number of issues with this restriction: 1) Electric medium-duty trucks are still a significant investment in relation to their diesel counterparts. It is very difficult to find a private or state organization to purchase electric medium-duty trucks and take on the risk of their fuel cell variant. 2) The vehicle itself, and especially the hybrid electric propulsion system, is completely within the scope of the overall project and even necessary for the project to occur. 3) The fuel cell and rest of the hybrid powertrain components should be included in the design-space and sized as a system in order to achieve an optimized overall vehicle that is efficient and effective. The development of a fuel cell hybrid truck by simply adding a fuel cell to an existing, purpose-built, eTruck is short-sighted. The size and type of battery (or even ultracapacitors) for a fuel cell vehicle with hydrogen energy storage will vary greatly from a pure electric vehicle. 4) If the selection criteria is based on “The intent…to maximize the number of deployed fuel cell hybrid MD eTrucks for the lowest cost”, any proposer who is able to pay for the base eTrucks separately will have an advantage. And by eliminating the eTruck cost restriction, qualified teams with promising fuel cell hybrid vehicle designs will not be prohibited from proposing. For all of these reasons, can DOE reconsider allowing the inclusion of the cost of the MD eTruck as part of the project? Or the cost of conversion of a diesel truck to an appropriately sized hybrid electric drivetrain? If neither of these is possible, can the cost of the electrical energy storage system, which likely will vary greatly from the MD eTruck, be considered part of the overall fuel cell power system and thus within the scope of DOE funding? Please help enable the commercial success of this technology by allowing for an optimized fuel cell hybrid product.
Answer 13: In accordance with Section I.C of the FOA (page 5), DOE will not fund the cost of the base MD eTruck and it cannot be used as cost share.  However, DOE will consider costs directly related to, and clearly necessary for, the conversion of an existing electric drivetrain to a fuel cell hybrid drivetrain.  This includes the cost of appropriately sized batteries and other components or subsystems that are adequately justified as critical to the successful performance of the fuel cell hybrid drivetrain.  Regarding costs associated with converting diesel trucks, please see the previously posted answer to Question 2.  All project costs will be negotiated prior to award.
Question 14: The solicitation says, "DOE is accepting new applications for projects to demonstrate and deploy fuel cell hybrid MD eTrucks at freight distribution centers, cargo distribution centers, or parcel/package distribution center sites. The specific MD eTruck vehicles of interest are commercial vehicles that deliver cargo, parcels, or packaged freight on daily routes and return to their distribution centers at the end of their daily shift operations." Would a University campus mail/package delivery center qualify as a "distribution center", and the trucks used in that center qualify as "commercial vehicles" as long as they were used for daily operations?
Answer 14: A university campus is allowable as a host site for a deployment under Topic 1, provided that other key FOA requirements are met, such as a minimum of 20 trucks deployed for at least 5,000 hours (page 4).  Furthermore, the application should include a commercialization plan that addresses plans to manufacture the technology (page 6).  It is preferred that the commercialization plan include initial forecasted annual unit sales for 3 years after commercialization.
Question 15: I would like to request the DOE consider another extension to FOA as the current due date will be difficult for my proposal team to meet at this time. Our proposal team is actively busy in addressing day-to-day business and have spent time in defining our project, establishing project scope, gathering cost estimates, obtaining internal support for cost share, company to company NDA’s, and other activities.  By providing more time, DOE will receive a greater number and quality proposals to address the needs identified under the FOA.
Answer 15: DOE does not intend to extend the FOA beyond the current due date, in particular at this late stage.  The FOA has already been extended once, and DOE has deadlines to meet as well.