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: Electrodeionization is a separations process that combines electrodialysis and ion exchange. It is not listed as a either an accepted or NON accepted separations process. Is it accepted?
Answer 1: Yes, electrodeionization would be accepted.
Question 2: Are combined bioprocessing processes (cbp) allowed?
Answer 2: Yes, CBP processes are allowed.
Question 3: Can this opportunity be used for RD&D to produce methane from switch grasses or other feed stocks that grow on marginal land?
Answer 3: The focus of this FOA is on the development of chemical and biological Upgrading processes for the production of biofuels and products.
Question 4: Even though our algae is ultimately our feedstock, the HTL process could convert a range of feedstock into HTL oil, including feedstock covered by the facilitation. So would we qualify on that basis?
Answer 4: Algae is not an acceptable feedstock under this FOA. Please see section I.C, pg 6.
Question 5: Pyrolysis oil seems excluded. Why? Is HTL oil considered the same of as the outflow of a process fundamentally different from pyrolysis? It is a different process.
Answer 5: Pyrolysis oil is excluded under this FOA. Please see section I.C.  HTL oil would also be excluded under this FOA.
Question 6: Even though we are using a thermochemical process to convert the waste algae into HTL oil, we will only work on a covered separation process that converts the HTL oil into a fuel. Would we qualify on that basis?
Answer 6: Please see Appendix F for details around Topic Area 2, where separtions processes are allowable.
Question 7: The amount of restrictions in this solicitation are enormous, despite the flexibility afforded the program by EPACT 2005 Sections 932 and 932c. For example, Section 932(a)(1)(A) clearly covers algae and section 932(c)(4) clearly allow “other advanced processes”. Why limit the program to a very few select companies as opposed to a broader industry spectrum better able to generate public benefits?
Answer 7: Please see section 1.A for a description and background on this FOA.
Question 8: Is biobased production of chemicals (not fuels) that are already in market, but produced from petroleum, considered within the scope of the FOA?
Answer 8: Please see the definition of high energy impact biobased product in appendix A.
Question 9: We are at a stage where we need to develop (i) the organism, (ii) the fermentation process as well as (iii) chemical conversion of the fermentation product into the drop-in chemical. Given the scope of the project and its infancy, would you recommend we focus only on fermentation (one unit operation) or request funds for the complete technology (multiple unit operations)?
Answer 9: DOE cannot provide recommendations or evaluations on an Applicant's potential project.  Applicants must determine which Topic area is best suited for their project.
Question 10: Is there any preference for early stage technologies over established technologies?
Answer 10: Please see Appendix F, Topic Area Details.
Question 11: We also are awaiting a response to our proposal to the "Bioenergy Technologies Incubator" FOA. Would there be any conflict here? We hope to make the two proposals synergistic.
Answer 11: All FOAs are reviewed separately. Please note that DOE will only fund separate and distinct applications.
Question 12: I would like to make sure the difference between cellulosic sugars and lignocellulosic sugars. Both words were used in the first page, FOA summary.
Answer 12: Cellulosic sugars and lignocellulosic sugars are the same.
Question 13: Regarding the referenced FOA in the subject line above, on page three, it says, “Thermochemical pathways will not be considered”. Please clarify whether you would view co-processing of vegetable oils and pyrolosis oils through a catalytic cracker or hydrotreater as a “thermochemical pathway”, thereby excluding this process from consideration.
Answer 13: Please see section I.C. of the FOA.
Question 14: Would a single unit operation that upgrades simple sugars (ex. fructose and/or glucose) to chemical intermediates like HMF, Levulinic Acid, Furfural, etc. be in scope for topic area 1? (In principle the process can upgrade cellulose-derived simple sugars.)
Answer 14: Please see section I.C. of the FOA, all sugars/intermediates must be derived from lignocellulosic feedstocks.
Question 15: I understand that converting cellulosic biomass to sugars is out of scope, is downstream sugar processing (thermochemical/catalytic, not fermentation) in scope?
Answer 15: Please see section I.C. of the FOA. The focus of this FOA is biological and chemical upgrading of biomass intermediates. Thermochemical processes are not acceptable.
Question 16: The FOA says pure sugars are not of interest and model sugar compounds are also not of interest. However, are sugar derived molecules such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and furfural OK to include? My interpretation is they would be fine, but just want to clarify.
Answer 16: Please see section I.C. of the FOA. All sugars/intermediates must be derived from lignocellulosic feedstocks.
Question 17: I am wondering if PHA (Bioplastics) can be considered as a chemical for this FOA?
Answer 17: PHA derived from lignocellulosic sugars/intermediates would be acceptable.
Question 18: Numbered page 3 states, “As a condition of selection and award, the project will be subject to, and the recipient must agree to: a) An initial independent third party validation of the baseline technical performance and economic data, which must be provided in the application; b) …” This statement suggests that DOE EERE will perform or commission a third party assessment of the proposed project after recipient and consideration of the project for award. Yet, the statement “must be provided in the application;” suggests the proposer must provide the third party review at time of submission. I interpret this statement to be that the submitting organization will provide its baseline technical performance and economic data, per Appendix G formatting, and if considered for award, DOE EERE will perform or commission a third party assessment. Is this interpretation correct?
Answer 18: Yes.
Question 19: In response to the clarification of bioproduct, we need further clarification of the following definition: “'High‐Energy Impact Biobased Product’ is defined as a commodity chemical derived from biomass that has an annual production of at least 50,000 tons or 100 million pounds per year.” Does the definition mean a commodity product that has 50,000 tons that can be potentially produced from biomass? Or does it mean the 50,000 tons of production must be currently from biomass? The bioplastics and PHA market way exceeded 50,000 tons, however, we are not sure how much are from lignocellulosic biomass currently, though it does has a strong potential to exceed 50,000 tons from biomass with our lignin-to-bioplastics technology when coupled with cellulosic ethanol. Will bioplastics, specifically, PHA qualify?
Answer 19: PHA derived from lignocellulosic sugars/intermediates would be acceptable.
Question 20: I am considering submitting a Concept Paper for this FOA. A tentative proposal is entitled "Advanced Simulated Moving Bed Technologies for Bioproduct Recovery." It is unclear to me whether this proposal can be submitted for Topic Area 1, or Topic Area 2, page 6, FOA.
Answer 20: Please see Appendix F of the subject FOA for additional details around each Topic Area.
Question 21: In general, I was wondering what the term biosolids represents – residue from the cellulosic ethanol process or other matter?
Answer 21: Biosolids are considered the solid or semi solid organic materials obtained from the treatment of wastewater.
Question 22: Please provide clarity on the definition of Applicant and limitations on submitting concept papers/proposals. The FOA states: “Applicants may submit ONLY one Concept Paper and one Full Application to each topic area of this FOA.” Appendix A defines Applicant as the legal entity or individual authorized to submit an application. However, in the Q/A of DE-FOA-0974, which has similar language, DOE states the intent of the FOA language is to limit PI’s (rather than legal entities). Hence, please clarify DOE’s intent for this FOA.
Answer 22: For this FOA, the intent is to limit the number of Concept Papers/Full Applications that each legal entity, not PI, can submit to a topic area. Only one Concept Paper and one Full Application to each topic area of this FOA will be accepted from an applicant (legal entity). If an applicant (legal entity) submits more than one Concept Paper/Full Application for the same topic area, EERE will only consider the last timely submission, regardless if each submission has a different PI.
Question 23: Section I.C. says "lignocellulosic sugars will not be accepted as a fuel intermediates or final products," however the Executive Summary says the FOA is looking for fuels produced "from biologically or chemically derived intermediate feed streams, such as but not limited to cellulosic sugars." If lignocellulosic material is converted to fuel and happens to involve a step that includes sugars, does that mean the entire pathway will not be accepted?
Answer 23: Lignocellulosic sugars are allowed as a intermediate stream (for upgrading), they are not allowable as a final product or final fuel intermediate for a proposed project.
Question 24: In the FOA it lists adsorption, ion exchange, and ion exclusion as acceptable processes but it specifically excludes chromatography. In our case we are interested in recovering acetic acid from a dilute acid hydrolysate or fermentation beer using ion exchange, and/or ion exclusion resins. This could be considered chromatography but it also fits under the other acceptable categories. Our intent would be to produce a salable acetic acid by-product. Work has been done on this process previously but there have been significant advancements in resins in the last 15 years. Would the DOE consider this an acceptable path for this FOA?
Answer 24: Yes.
Question 25: Is production of bio-oil (TAG) via oil metabolic engineering of feedstock crop vegetative biomass allowed in this RFP?
Answer 25: The focus of this FOA is on the development of chemical and biological upgrading processes for the production of biofuels and products.
Question 26: Am I correct that the production of biogas from food waste to produce compressed natural gas for transportation fuel is not eligible?
Answer 26: Yes.
Question 27: Would the DOE-EERE RFP accepts concept papers/proposals in the area of triglyceride metabolic engineering for production of recombinant drop oil in bioenergy crop vegetative biomass, followed by their large-scale field-scale testing, and recombinant biodiesel production (20%/day vegetative biomass)?
Answer 27: The focus of this FOA is on the development of chemical and biological upgrading processes for the production of biofuels and products.
Question 28: Would possible NRCS farm contributions disqualify our application?
Answer 28:

Please see section III.B. of the FOA for more information on cost sharing. Cost share must come from non‐Federal sources unless otherwise allowed by law.

Question 29: Can Topic Area 2 include two (or more) unit operations for upgrading and separation of chemically-derived intermediates, or must it include a combination of chemical and biological processes?
Answer 29: Please see Appendix F for details around Topic Area 2. Hybrid, chemical and biological upgrading processes with the integration of separation steps will be the focus of this topic area.
Question 30: If we propose to improve separation technology or the combination of fermentation and separation technology, do we have to use actual biomass hydrolysate for all R&D?
Answer 30: Yes, please see section I.C. of the FOA, all sugars/intermediates must be derived from lignocellulosic feedstocks.
Question 31: Our primary focus (>80% of effort/resources) is improvement of a primary separation technology that does the majority of water removal from product of interest. This separation technology is allowable according to Appendix F. However, full refining of the finished product does require the application of a separation process that is not allowable. We wish to demonstrate full refining. Will such a proposal still be considered?
Answer 31: Please see section I.C. of the FOA. "Topic Area 2 applications that propose unit operations for R&D funding outside of the upgrading and separations processes" are not of interest.
Question 32: There seems to be a contradiction between the following three statements: Page 2 of the FOA: "For the purposes of this FOA lignocellulosic sugars will not be allowable fuel intermediates" vs Answer 16: Please see section I.C. of the FOA. "All sugars/intermediates must be derived from lignocellulosic feedstocks". vs Page 5 of the FOA "Additionally lignocellulosic sugars will not be accepted as a fuel intermediates or final products under this FAO". Could you please clarify exactly what is meant by "be derived from" vs "as fuel intermediates or final products" in regards to lignocellulosics? Since lignocellulosics contain 50% or more complex sugars, are you saying that the intermediates can not contain glyco-moeities or glycans? This is rather confusing.
Answer 32: Lignocellulosic sugars are allowed as a intermediate stream (for upgrading), they are not allowable as a final product or final fuel intermediate for a proposed project.
Question 33: I am very confused regarding what kind of conversions/technologies would be considered through this program. It is stated in the FOA that thermochemical pathways will not be considered. This seems like a very broad statement. Does this mean that any conversion process with heat treatment will not be considered? Would syngas and bio-oil not be considered as intermediates? If not then what kind of intermediates would be considered for non-biological upgrading research in this FOA? What should be expected scale for this technology (Technology Readiness Level, TRL)? Is involvement of industry required or recommended? Unfortunately the FOA does not clearly answer the above questions. I will appreciate if you could help me understand the research direction that this FOA is seeking.
Answer 33: Please see section I.C. of the FOA, the specific areas not of interest are listed here. Please see Appendix F for additional information and the scales of interest.  Industry involvement is not a requirement.
Question 34: What definition of feedstock must be followed, EPAct 2005 or EISA 2007 or both? Page 60 of ‘Appendix A – Definitions’ refers to both acts, - ‘“Lignocellulosic feedstock” is defined in EPAct 2005 §932 which is found in Appendix E and renewable biomass as defined in EISA 2007, Title II, §201 also found in Appendix E.’ However, p. 74 Appendix E only mentions EPAct 2005 ‘“lignocellulosic biomass sources ... defined in EPAct 2005 Section 932(a)(1)&(2) and cited below’
Answer 34: EPAct 2005 Section 932(a)(1)&(2) is the primary reference for the definition of feedstocks as provided in Appendix E.
Question 35: According to Appendix F, the topic areas are focused on “the upgrading of chemically and biologically derived intermediates to fuels and products”. In Appendix E, the text and figure 2.15 seem to indicate that biological and chemical “upgrading” is separate and distinct from biological and chemical conversion processes. However, in Appendix G the example data tables seem to indicate that improvements in biological conversion of sugars (such as fermentation) and chemical conversion (catalytic conversion) are acceptable process steps for improvement under this FOA. Would you please clarify whether “conversions” such as hydrolysis, fermentation and catalytic, are indeed considered “upgrading” of fuel intermediates?
Answer 35: Please see section I.C of the FOA. As sugar is not a acceptable final product under this FOA, hydrolysis is not an acceptable 'upgrading process'. Other conversion processes such as, but not limited to, fermentation and catalysis for the production of fuel intermediates are allowable.
Question 36: Appendix E (page 74) of the FOA instructions reads the following: "To be clear, applications proposing to process fiber from wet and dry‐grind corn refineries, distillers dried grains and solubles, or other food related biomass will be considered non‐responsive and will NOT be considered for funding under this FOA". However, prior to that it reads: "The lignocellulosic biomass sources include agricultural residues such as corn stover, other grain straws, bagasse, soybean matter and wood residues as defined in EPAct 2005 Section 932(a)(1)&(2) and cited below". Specifically, EPAct 2005 Section 932(a)(1)(B), as cited in the FOA instructions reads: "(B) any organic byproduct of agriculture (including wastes from food production and processing) that can be converted into energy; or..." There seems to be a bit of a conflict here. What is specifically meant with “other food related biomass”, which will not be considered? Will wastes from food production and processing, as mentioned in EPAct 2005 Section 932(a)(1)(B), be considered or not?
Answer 36: As defined in EPAct 2005: any organic byproduct of agriculture (including wastes from food production and processing) that can be converted into energy is acceptable. Other food related biomass, excluding food waste streams, are not acceptable.
Question 37: Basically, we produce 2G enzymes, which we are commercializing in short term. Plus, we have enzyme improvement goals for the first years, which will have a favorable effect on the enzymatic hydrolysis stage in the 2G ethanol process (corn stover, bagasse). Due to the fact that our process affects the enzyme itself and not a specific stage in the biofuel/bioproducts production, despite that we indirectly upgrade the process, we cannot say if we would be allowed to apply for the financial assistance. We will be pleased if that point could be clarified.
Answer 37: Please see section I.C of the FOA. As sugar is not an acceptable final product under this FOA, hydrolysis is not an acceptable 'upgrading process'.
Question 38: In Concept paper form, there are only 4000 characters to write in. But in the Concept paper requirement, it is asking for 3-pages plus 2-pages of write up. Are thery looking for 3 to 5 pages of write up somewhere else?
Answer 38: Concept papers are to be uploaded to the EERE eXchange system.
Question 39: Is production of HMF and/or Furfural and/or levulinic acid from lignocellulosic biomass hydrolyzate acceptable for submission to Topic 1?
Answer 39: Yes.
Question 40: If a project plans to use biomass that meets this FOA’s definition and additional feedstock (foodwaste) does this disqualify the project from this FOA? Is there an acceptable amount of use of other feedstock to supplement a percentage of the primary feedstock? The FOA does not clearly state such project needs to be fueled 100% or only by the approved feedstocks. Only that it must be of at least 50 million dry tons of biomass per year.
Answer 40: Please see previous questions 26 and specifically 36, addressing the use of food waste.
Question 41: May the carbon source for this bio-upgrading process be CO2, or must we utilize lignocellulosic sugars?
Answer 41: Please see section I.C. of the FOA. "All sugars/intermediates must be derived from lignocellulosic feedstocks".
Question 42: If CO2 can be the direct carbon source, must that CO2 be produced from lignocellulosic sugars? Or from biomass?
Answer 42: Please see section I.C. of the FOA. "All sugars/intermediates must be derived from lignocellulosic feedstocks".
Question 43: Can CAFO waste be used directly as a carbon or energy source?
Answer 43: Please see Appendix E for the EPAct 2007 definition for lignocellulosic feedstocks.
Question 44: Instead of reformation of methane, can we use a two-step anaerobic digestion process, in which lignocellulose is broken down into H2 and organic acids, then fed to a C4-producing microbe?
Answer 44: DOE cannot provide recommendations or evaluations on an Applicant's potential project.  Applicants must determine the suitability of their potential project.
Question 45: Would upgrading our current microbe (which can utilize a variety of gases from anaerobic digestion, biomass, acids, etc.) to produce fuels beyond butanol, such as JP5 or JP8, be of interest to BETO?
Answer 45: DOE cannot provide recommendations or evaluations on an Applicant's potential project.  Applicants must determine the suitability of their potential project.
Question 46: Will you consider upgrading of biogas derived from digestion of animal waste and/or biomass waste in this FOA. In particular would you consider the conversion of biogas( CO2 + CH4) to liquid fuels as responsive to this FOA?
Answer 46: Yes.
Question 47: Please clarify: As an eligible educational institution, may we submit 2 concept papers -- one on each topic area?
Answer 47: Yes.
Question 48: It appears BCUFOA, would not accept a proposal to convert the crude oil from a hydrothermal process to diesel, gasoline, or jet fuel, if the hydrothermal process feedstock was algae or seaweed. Is this correct?
Answer 48: Yes.
Question 49: It appears BCUFOA-0001085, would accept a proposal to convert the crude oil from a hydrothermal process to diesel, gasoline, or jet fuel. The hydrothermal process might be using the feedstock of biosolids (leftover bacteria and feces from municipal wastewater treatment), foodwaste with incidental plastic bags, etc. Is this correct?
Answer 49: Please see section I.C. of the FOA. Crude oil is considered the same as bio oil or pyrolysis oil in the case of this FOA and would not be of interest.
Question 50: It appears BCUFOA, would not accept a proposal to produce crude oil from a hydrothermal process regardless of the feedstock. Is this correct?
Answer 50: Yes.
Question 51: The program abstract is looking for "... to be produced in an integrated fashion from biologically or chemically derived intermediate feed streams, such as but not limited to cellulosic sugars ...". However, the abstract also states that "lignocellulosic sugars will not be allowable fuel intermediates". This does not seem to make any logical sense. Does the presence of lignin really disqualify a feedstock - if so, you are disqualifying most forms of renewable biomass. Can you please clarify?
Answer 51: Please see previous question #23, addressing the use and production of sugars.
Question 52: The Biological and Chemical Upgrading for Advanced Biofuels and Products FOA references data table requirements in Appendix G.  Could you please clarify whether or not this table, including the techno-economics analysis, is required for the concept paper?
Answer 52: No, the tables are not required as a part of the concept papers
Question 53: We have some questions about this statement in DE-FOA-0001085: “Submission of an application and supplemental information under this FOA through electronic systems used by the Department of Energy, including EERE Exchange and, constitutes the authorized representative’s approval and electronic signature.” Now is the PI an authorized representative or would that be our Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development?
Answer 53: An authorized representative may or may not be the project’s Principal Investigator (PI). It would depend on your organization’s structure. An authorized representative should have the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the organization. An Associate Vice President would appear to be a qualified authorized representative
Question 54: In reference to question 26 on the FAQ, “Am I correct that the production of biogas from food waste to produce compressed natural gas for transportation fuel is not eligible? With the answer being “Yes”, I am curious as to whether production of biogas from “animal” waste to produce compressed natural gas for transportation fuel is acceptable? Primarily, does anaerobic digestion from animal manure converted to biomethane and the biomethane converted to CNG qualify under this program? Is the type of waste the determining factor?
Answer 54: Food waste and animal waste are both acceptable feedstocks, as listed in Appendix E (please verify this is correct reference for the feedstock appendix). The production of CNG is not of interest under this FOA.
Question 55: Will the information in concept paper be released publicly? May I include a statement regarding confidentiality in the concept paper also?
Answer 55: Please see section VIII.E of the FOA titled,  'Treatment of Application Information.' Applicants should not include trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential in their full applications or concept papers unless such information is necessary to convey an understanding of the proposed project or to comply with a requirement in the FOA. Full applications or concept papers containing trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential, which the applicant does not want disclosed to the public or used by the Government for any purpose other than application evaluation, must be marked as described in section VIII.E of the FOA.  Failure to comply with these marking requirements may result in the disclosure of the unmarked information under a FOIA request or otherwise. The U.S. Government is not liable for the disclosure or use of unmarked information, and may use or disclose such information for any purpose.
Question 56: We are very interested in this funding opportunity.  We have a technology that converts waste plastics into valuable petroleum products. Sources of feedstock include waste plastics from municipal, commercial and industrial sources that would otherwise be land filled or incinerated.  Is this considered an acceptable feedstock for this funding opportunity?
Answer 56: Please see appendix E of the FOA (please verify this is the correct appendices) for the EPact 2007 definition of acceptable lignocellulosic feedstocks.
Question 57: In Appendix F of the FOA (page 80), under Topic Area 1, it states: "The scale of the process is intended to be between bench scale (1L) and laboratory scale (up to ~200L)." Could you please clarify the metric for 1L and 200L? In other words, is this intended to mean 1L per hour and 200L per hour? Or is this intended to mean 1L per day and 200L per day? Or some other metric? The statement is repeated under Topic Area 2.
Answer 57: The scales are listed in vessel volumes/capacity, not production rates.
Question 58: Do oligosaccharides derived from ligno-cellulosic biomass qualify as an appropriate intermediate feed stream?
Answer 58: Yes.
Question 59: I’m hoping you can help clarify what is meant in the concept paper technology description as: “current state-of-the-art in the relevant field and application” Does this require a description of all methods or just a specific project’s current results to-date?
Answer 59: This refers to the 'state of the art' of the current industry for the technology/process being proposed.
Question 60: Hello, I’m writing to inquire about the recently released Biochemical and Chemical Upgrading FOA. Our concept focuses on the production of a biochemical, not a biofuel. This appears to be compliant within the FOA, as stated on pp.3 and 75: “...upgrading of chemically or biologically derived intermediates to fuels and products...” and “The process operations to be included within this FOA are limited to conversion technologies leading to production of alcohols and other petroleum replacement products.” However, the FOA later states on pp. 84: Note: Technoeconomic analysis (TEA) around the production of bio-products MUST be shown within the context of an integrated biorefinery concept, where NO more than 50% of the carbon stream may be diverted from fuel production. Does this note apply to processes generating non-fuel petroleum replacement products only? Related, is a proposed bioprocess leading exclusively to production of a non-fuel, petrochemical replacement product compliant with this FOA?
Answer 60: Yes, and yes.
Question 61: Would an application on the biobased production of acetic acid be considered responsive to the FOA?
Answer 61: No.
Question 62: If the applicant plans to utilize third-party for profit laboratories for a portion of the work – analysis, tests etc… does this have to be identified as additional Team Members? For example – if we sent samples to a laboratory for chemical analysis would that lab be a Team Member or does Team Membership really mean parties actively participating in the research and sharing in the potential grant? Further, what if we contracted a lab to conduct specific tests for us (ones we design but where we may not have the equipment in our own lab like membrane separation), would they then be a Team Member? Is the “percent of the project” just a financial split or is effort considered (report writing etc…)
Answer 62: Team Membership refers to parties actively participating in the potential project. Vendors are service providers and are not considered Project Team members. Applicants must decide if third-party for-profit laboratories who provide analysis and testing services are Team Members (Subrecipients) or vendors. Please review Circular A-133 section .210 for guidance on Subrecipient and vendor determinations. All proposed expenses must be captured by the budget justification, including but not limited to costs associated with vendors, Subrecipients, and FFRDC’s. If you are referring to cost share as a “percentage of the project,” cost share can be in-kind or cash and can be provided by the applicant or a third party.
Question 63: Is there a way we can submit our concept paper while the SAM and CAGE numbers are pending?
Answer 63: SAM registration is not required to submit a concept paper. The EERE Exchange registration does not have a delay; however, the registration requirements for the System Award Management System, Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS), and Fedconnect could take several weeks to process and are necessary for a potential applicant to receive an award under this FOA. Therefore, although not required in order to submit an Application through the EERE Exchange site, all potential applicants lacking a DUNS number, or not yet registered with SAM or FedConnect should complete those registrations as soon as possible.
Question 64: Our question is whether UT-Battelle can use its earned Technology Transfer royalty funds to meet the cost sharing requirements?
Answer 64: Yes, technology transfer royalty funds received from non-Federal sources are considered non-Federal funds that may be used to meet cost share requirements.
Question 65: This questions is in regards to the treatment of confidential information in the Concept Paper. The FOA is very clear that the applicant must adhere strictly to the page limits as stated on page 18 (3 pages maximum for the Technology Description and 2 pages maximum for the Addendum). The FOA is also very clear that if the applicant includes confidential or privileged information in the application, then the applicant must mark the application as is described on page 50. The instructions on page 50 state that, "The cover sheet of the application must be marked as follows and identify the specific pages containing trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential..." If the applicant presents information in the concept paper that is confidential, this leads us to the conclusion that the applicant must include a cover sheet for the concept paper, including the stated language (in addition to the trade secrets header and footer). Is this the case? If yes, does the cover sheet cut into the page allowance for the concept paper? (i.e. the applicant then only has 4 total pages for the Technology Description and Addendum, combined).
Answer 65: if a concept paper must include confidential information is must be marked as specified on the first page of the document. A cover page is not required or necessary for concept papers.
Question 66: Does a biogas to methanol project qualify for the grant?
Answer 66: Conversion of biogas (as defined in appendix A of the FOA)  to methanol would be eligible under this FOA.
Question 67: Could you clarify the meaning of Table C in Appendix G. The instructions state that Table C should “demonstrate this work’s impact on reducing ethanol production costs.” However, our technology will not have any effect on ethanol production costs. Does this mean that we did not need to include Table C in our full application?
Answer 67: The instructions should read: “demonstrate this work’s impact on reducing FUEL production costs.”
Question 68: As for the percentage of the project – I was asking whether the efforts contributed by an affiliate in the grant were to be measured as hours of work or on a pure costs basis. For example, let say the project requires 100 hours of work and the affiliate does 50 hours that is 50% of the effort but what if their cost structure is different and they require only 25% of the funds. My assumption is that we are working on a cost basis.
Answer 68: The percentage of effort is defined as either work effort or financial ratio in the applicable section of the FOA.
Question 69: We were wondering whether our work on upgrading a designer photosynthetic hydrocarbons producing process for synthesis of butanol and other higher alcohols (C5 hydrocarbons) directly from CO2 and H2O would fit with your EERE program? This novel process has huge potential for advanced biofuel production. We thought, it would fit with your program Topic Area 1: “Process development and optimization of a single unit operation for the upgrading of chemically or biologically derived intermediates to fuels and products. Single step biological or chemical upgrading processes will be the focus of this topic area.”
Answer 69: Based on the description provided it may be eligible, however please note that concept papers are required to be able to submit a full application to this FOA, and the due date for concept papers was May 1st.
Question 70: As pertains to funding opportunity DE-FOA-0001085, what are the rules regarding having a different prime recipient submit the full application than submitted the concept paper?
Answer 70: The same Applicant/Prime Recipient (Legal Entity) who submitted the Concept Paper must submit the Full Application. A different team member or Project Investigator (PI) may submit the Full Application than submitted the Concept Paper, as long as the Full Application comes from the same Legal Entity as the Concept Paper.
Question 71: My company has submitted a concept paper for this FOA. When do you currently expect to provide "encourage / discourage" notifications to the applicants.
Answer 71: Encourage/discourage notifications will be provided on 5/16/2014, at
Question 72: Although “my submissions” section of eere-exchange says that the review is complete, I don’t see any indication of what decision was made. Is that forthcoming or do I need to look somewhere else?
Answer 72: Please visit and ensure you login to view "encourage/discourage" comments.
Question 73: Could you let us know how many concept papers under DE-FOA-0001085 you have received, and how many have been “encouraged” to pursue a full application ?
Answer 73: The number of concepts papers received and/or encouraged cannot be disclosed.
Question 74: We are wondering, now that the our concept paperwork was accepted to submit a full proposal, if we can add another subrecipient to the full proposal that was not listed in the concept paper?
Answer 74: Yes.
Question 75: We were encouraged to submit a full application for DE-FOA-0001085. We need some guidance regarding the comments on our Concept Paper. It is our understanding that these funds are to be used for studies of conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals with emphasis on conversion of feedstock to fermentable sugars and on downstream processing (DSP) to purify product. We will be conducing strain engineering as part of the overall program--but it was our impression that the DOE funds were not to be used to support strain engineering. So, we wrote: "the strain engineering is beyond the scope of this application". But, the comments said "The application should definitely address this topic...". So, we need guidance. Should we describe our strain engineering plan and request funding for strain engineering (as well as for feedstock processing and DSP)? Perhaps, we misunderstood when we read the original description, and strain engineering should be part of the DOE funded project?
Answer 75: The focus of this FOA is the development of chemical and biological Upgrading processes for the production of biofuels and products. Strain engineering as a part of an upgrading process is not excluded.
Question 76: The SF-424 form is required for the full application. Can we use the SF-424_RR-Budget3Year.xlsx (3 year form) from the website? Do the applicants need to fill, sign and submit the 6-page "Financial assistance certifications and assurances for use with SF-424" in the full application also?
Answer 76: The SF-424 form is the Application for Federal Assistance and needs to be completed, signed and submitted. Page 4 is required if your organization is delinquent on any Federal Debt. Applicants do not need to submit the 6-page “Financial assistance certifications and assurances for use with the SF-424” form. The SF-424 R&R Budget form is not being used for this FOA. Please use the “EERE 159 Budget Justification” form, which is a required document and contains the same budget information found in the SF-424 R&R form.
Question 77: Regarding technoeconomic analysis, the FOA states "Benchmark/current process: the data provided should reflect the best current status of the process being proposed under the applications." Can we use the data provided from NREL 2013 report " Process Design and Economics for the Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Hydrocarbons " as the benchmark data for our lignin utilisation as hydrocarbons? If not, where I can find current DOE numbers for the conversion of lignin to aromatic hydrocarbonas references (e.g. reports or other documents). Our integrated process also include the upgrade of cellulosic ethanol process to butanol through novel pathway. Where can I find current DOE numbers for the conversion of cellulosic sugars to butanic acid then butanol process? Can we use cellulosic ethanol process as the baseline technology?
Answer 77: Yes, you may use the 2013 NREL design report where applicable.
Question 78: What is the ratio of R&D vs. process improvement that DOE prefers?
Answer 78: DOE cannot provide recommendations or evaluations on an Applicant's potential project.
Question 79: Page 27, Section 6. Summary Slide states “The slide must be submitted in PowerPoint format.” It then goes on to state further “Save the Summary Slide in a single PDF file…”. Is it PowerPoint or PDF?
Answer 79: Either PowerPoint or PDF formats will be accepted.
Question 80: For separating biofuel intermediate, is liquid-liquid extraction followed by solvent evaporation acceptable under this FOA?
Answer 80:

Please see appendix F of the subject FOA for the list of acceptable separations processes. Should multiple processes be proposed all must be acceptable to be considered for funding under this FOA.

Question 81: According to page 75 of the RFP: "No process improvements in any other upgrading and separations technologies will be eligible for support with project funds...", is improvement of pretreatment for the purpose of increasing sugar yield and decreasing cost from biomass acceptable?
Answer 81:


Question 82: The "required documents" include a "Disclosure of Lobbying Activities". Our company has never lobbied anyone for anything, yet their doesn't seem a way to say such on the document. Can you advise?
Answer 82: You may write “N/A” on the form.
Question 83: This question pertains to the Project Overview section. The "Background" subheader requests discussion of "background of their organization, including the history, successes, etc.." Should we include background of the lead organization only or all organizations involved in the proposal?
Answer 83: The FOA states, "Background:  The Applicant should discuss the background of their organization, including the history, successes, and current research and development status (i.e., the technical baseline) relevant to the technical topic being addressed in the Full Application. If you wish to include background information on pertinent sub recipients, you may.
Question 84: The application requires us to fill out table C to show how our innovation will lower the cost of production of ethanol or any other biofuel for a biorefinery. As an organization, we do not specifically produce biofuel through our process, but we do produce an intermediary cellulosic sugar which our partners may process into ethanol or other such biofuel. Table C therefore requires data that we do not have from our production process. Do you have a preferred source of information we could use to populate expenses in Table C based on known estimated conversion costs of cellulosic sugar to ethanol? Can you provide the document cited in the FOA text- NREL Design Report 2013?
Answer 84: DOE cannot provide recommendations on an Applicant's potential project. The NREL design report can be found at:
Question 85: The FOA states the need for a Validation Participation Acknowledgement as part of the FOA Specific Requirements. I cannot find guidance as to where to include the Validation Participation Acknowledgement in the submission packages, or what format the acknowledgement should be in.
Answer 85: Please see section IV. D.1, full application content requirements are outlined here.
Question 86: Our proposal has been cleared for full submittal, however, in the interim several changes have occurred, involving changes with the originally proposed PI, sub recipient, and a vendor. We believe the scope of work originally proposed can still be fulfilled due to the replacements as listed above are within the solicitation’s budget limitations, however, please confirm this is acceptable to the DOE. In addition, as the pre-proposal was submitted by a different PI, is it acceptable to proceed using the EERE assigned control number and change the name of the PI and other participants as listed above?
Answer 86: Changes may be made as long as the general scope outlined in the concept paper submitted remains consistent. Please make sure to use the same control number on the application documents as the one that was assigned at the concept paper phase.
Question 87: In checking through the RFP, specifically Section IV. Part D. I could not find any reference to “Validation Participation Acknowledgement” requirement, other than it being listed in IV Part D. 1. I also found a FAQ which references this question, but the answer refers to checking Section IV. Part D. 1. Can you provide clarification with regard to this requirement? Also, is there a page limit for the USA Manufacturing Commitments (Section IV. Part D. 12)?
Answer 87: As stated in Section IV.D.1 , Section IV.D.2 and  Section IV.D.14, the requirement is that the applicant provide a statement acknowledging williness to participate in a 3rd party validation, as required under this FOA.
Question 89: Page 6 of the FOA states “Individual awards may vary between $1,000,000 and $3,500,000”. Do the amounts refer to the Federal cost share portion, or to the total project cost?
Answer 89: Federal Share.
Question 90: We are working on data table C. Our project will be conducted at lab scale as specified in topic area 1: (The scale of the process is intended to be between bench scale (1L) and laboratory scale (up to ~200L). Proposals for units greater than 200L will be excluded from the FOA.) In data table C, we plan to use 1st plant costs, estimates, and extrapolations from the lab scale, as it seems that this data table requires commercial scale estimates to be populated correctly and effectively. Is it appropriate to use 1st plant costs in data table C or is this table intended to show costs at bench scale?
Answer 90: Table C should reflect the commercial scale costs, reflecting the baseline and target data provided within the other tables as applicable.
Question 91: Originally, we submitted our concept paper under topic area two, however, on closer read we feel that our project is actually better suited to topic area 1. Is it permissible to submit a full application under topic area 1 despite having selected topic area 2 in our concept paper submission.
Answer 91: No.  If your Concept Paper was submitted and reviewed under Topic Area 2, your Full Application must be submitted under Topic Area 2.
Question 92: Do sub awardees/teaming partners need to fill out a SF-424, Application for Finanical Assistance?
Answer 92: No.
Question 93: I am working on Table C for the “Process Details and Cost Estimate”, and had a questions about the note directly below this. “Technoeconomic analysis (TEA) around the production of bio-products MUST be shown within the context of an integrated biorefinery concept, where no more than 50% of the carbon stream may be divert from fuel production.” Does this mean if we are producing a bioproduct, we have to show the production of a biofuel in Table C, with the maximum amount of the bioproduct makes up 50% of the carbon stream?
Answer 93: Yes.
Question 94: The final application I am preparing will be for an FFRDC as the prime recipient. In addition to submitting the final application in the EERE-Exchange system, should I also prepare and submit an FWP for this application as well?
Answer 94: Yes, please see section IV.D.8 of the FOA.
Question 95: For an application to DE-FOA-0001085, the prime institution is providing the required cost share. For the full application, is a cost share letter required, and if so, where is it included in the application package? Thanks for your help.
Answer 95: A cost share letter is not required for the prime applicant.
Question 96: My company is submitting a full application to EERE’s Biological Upgrading opportunity this week. I noticed that the version of the SF-424 form available for download from the FOA website’s Required Application Documents section expired on 31 January, 2009. Is this the correct version of the document to use for DE-FOA-0001085? Or should we use the most recent, generally-available version of the SF-424 form? Thank you for your time.
Answer 96: Please utilize the version provided on the exchange website.
Question 97: Does the requirement “The Control Number must be prominently displayed on the upper right corner of the header of every page. Page numbers must be included in the footer of every page” apply to the budget justification worksheet, Appendix G Tables, and 1 slide summary?
Answer 97: No.
Question 98: My group was encouraged to apply to DE-FOA-0001085 under Topic Area 2. Today, after reading the FOA to the end, I noticed text on page 75 that seems to preclude our idea from consideration, "If a catalytic conversion process is proposed, the hydrogenation process may NOT be included in the proposed process improvements." As we are planning to investigate two hydrogenation steps, should we continue with our application?
Answer 98: As noted, hydrogenation processes are not of interest under this FOA.
Question 99: We are completing our proposal in response to DE-FOA-0001085 but don’t see where we should include our cost-sharing letter of commitment. Can you please point out the right place?
Answer 99: Cost share commitment letters are only required if being supplied by a third party, and may be submitted via under (FOA) DE-FOA-0001085. Please also see Question 95.
Question 100: Can the cost sharing non-Federal source also be a subcontractor to the project performing less than 25% of the total work effort and receive flow through funds from the prime recipient's award as a subcontractor?
Answer 100:


Question 101: Now that we are preparing our full application for submission we have fully refined the details of our projects budget. Are we able to change the amount that we originally submitted along with our concept paper now that we have a more refined budget as long as the requested amount is still within the limitations of the FOA?
Answer 101: Yes, funds may change if necessary.
Question 102: We have just noticed a potential discrepancy between the FOA documentation and how the EERE159 spreadsheet is calculating cost share percentages. Looks like the EERE159 spreadsheet calculates cost share % by dividing cost share $ by federal budget. RFP is saying: •Formula: Federal share ($) divided by Federal share (%) = Total Project Cost $2,000,000 divided by 80% = $2.5M • Formula: Total Project Cost ($) minus Federal share ($) = Non-federal share ($) $2.5M minus $2M = $500,000 • Formula: Non-federal share ($) divided by Total Project Cost ($) = Non-federal share (%) $500,000 divided by 2.5M = 20% In other words, EERE159 spreadsheet shows a $400,000 cost share as 20%. FOA calcs would require $500,000. Which is the appropriate method for calculating cost share for this FOA?
Answer 102: Cost share should be calculated based on the total project cost, not based on the federal share.
Question 103: The link to the FWP listed in the FOA is broken (page 28). Can we use a standard FWP form from our Budget's Office and submit the form through our own FWP system here at the Lab?
Answer 103: Yes, your standard form may be used, though the completed form must be included in the application as stated in the FOA.
Question 104: We're wondering where do we upload the PDF file containing vendor quotes for proposed equipment purchases. There doesn't seem to be an "Other Files" place to upload and we cant find instructions as to how some 50+ pages of vendor quotes should be uploaded.
Answer 104: Please attach the vendor quotes to the end of the budget justification.
Question 105: Thank you for confirming that we can use our Lab's FWP form to submit with our application in the EERE-Exchange file. However, there doesn't seem to be a section where I can upload the form? Should I attach it with another file in a particular section and if so, which Title section would that be.
Answer 105: Please attach them to the end of the budget justification.
Question 106: According to the FOA, selections were supposed to be announced by last Friday, the 15th. Is this an error or is there just a delay in the projected schedule? If it's simply a delay, are there any indicators as to when the announcement will, in fact, be made?
Answer 106: There is a delay in the projected schedule. DOE anticipates announcing selections sometime in September or October 2014.