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: The cost share requirements, specifically in the cost share table, states that it is for For-Profit entities. It states that 50% or more is required for certain areas of interest. How about for a university-led proposal, is there a waiver or some discounted number in this regard?
Answer 1: No, there is no cost share waiver for any entity. The cost share identified in the FOA is for all entities, not just for For-Profit entities. An amendment to the FOA will be forthcoming  to reflect that change.
Question 2: I am new to DOE and EERE but am very interested in this Advanced Vehicle Technologies FOA, I wonder if I am eligible to submit? I am an assistant professor at a University. I am on a H1-B visa. Another question is about submitting. I read the Amendment document, it seems that I will eventually need to submit the documents on my own, without working with my university. Is it correct?
Answer 2:

Individuals who wish to apply for funding as an individual must be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident.  There is no requirement for you to submit the documents on your own.  You may apply through your university or other eligible entity.  Non-US citizens may be required to provide additional information in order to be grated DOE access approval.  Refer to Section III of the FOA for Eligibility Information for further detail.

Question 3: Does the requirement for bio-blendstocks allow for waste derived additives or does the feedstock need to be biologic (plant or animal) based?
Answer 3: Acceptable feedstocks are those defined in EPACT 2005 Section 932(a)(1) and (2) and include lignocellulosic biomass, algal biomass, post-sorted MSW, and wet waste. The lignocellulosic biomass sources include agricultural residues such as corn stover, other grain straws, bagasse, soybean matter and wood residues. No plant based material that is generally intended for use as food may be used as a feedstock under this FOA. Hence, sugars derived from sugarcane, sweet sorghum, or beets and oils derived from soy, canola, sunflower, peanut, and other such food sources normally recovered using conventional food processing methods are not eligible as feedstocks under this FOA.  The FOA has been amended to clarify allowable feedstocks for AOI 5b.
Question 4: The Required Application documents lists both a Budget Justification Workbook and a Subrecipient Budget Justification Workbook as separate documents, but they are the same EERE 335 excel file. Is this a copy and past typo or is there only one budget justification workbook for both the prime and the subrecipients?
Answer 4: There is only one budget justification form for both the Prime and Subrecipients.
Question 5: Regarding AOI 3e, in the section "Applications that include the following are highly discouraged", the second bullet discourages "Projects which include the purchase of vehicles and/or fueling or charging infrastructure as project costs." Does this mean that vehicle and charging infrastructure costs should not be included or are discouraged from being included as cost share?
Answer 5: Yes, these costs should not be included in the project and consequently should not be included as cost share.
Question 6: Please provide clarification on AOI 1b General Requirements: "3. Detail planned charging station location(s), including infrastructure requirements, and approach to mitigate potential grid impacts at these sites." Do they mean us to provide general idea of local areas where the stations woudl be and the general infrastructure requirements and approaches? OR Is the specific design of the stations and locations an input (prerequisite for acceptance of the submission) to the study or an output of the FOA effort?
Answer 6: The intent of this topic is for the applicant to provide general information regarding the location and infrastructure requirements.  The topic language has been updated in Amendment 0001 of the FOA to clarify this.
Question 7: The title of AOI3a is “High Performance Computing for Transportation Hubs “ Transportation hubs can be defined many ways. Could you please describe what you mean by Transportation hubs? For example, are you referring to an entire metropolitan area (i.e. city & suburbs including multiple modes), a transportation center (main intermodal hub such as main train station with buses and taxi), a traffic management center or any of the above?
Answer 7: AOI 3a refers  to a transportation hub as an airport, train station, port…etc. A city would not be considered a transportation hub.
Question 8: Does the use of the term “minimum award size” also mean that an application submitted for less than $6,000,000 will not qualify for consideration?
Answer 8: No. The anticipated minimum award size identified only illustrates, at a minimum, the amount that DOE anticipates to fund awards selected under that specific AOI. Applicants proposing projects that request less DOE funding than the anticipated minimum award size will not be considered ineligible.
Question 9: 1) Teaming Arrangements. For the Concept Paper, is it necessary that partners be established or would this activity be delayed for the Full Application (or perhaps even later)? 2) Sample Concept Papers and/or Full Application Papers. Are there any sample papers (from previous project applications) available for review?
Answer 9: While it is preferred that proposed team members be described in the concept paper, the final proposed team is only required with the submission of the full application.  DOE does not provide sample concept papers to applicants.  Information regarding the content and format of the concept paper may be found in sections IV.A and IV.C of the FOA.
Question 10: Does the registration process need to be completed prior to submitting a concept paper? Or is this not required until submitting a full application?
Answer 10: You must complete your registration in EERE eXCHANGE in order to submit a concept paper. The remainder of the registrations must be completed prior to submission of an application. You are highly encouraged to register in these systems as soon as possible.
Question 11: We are thinking about potentially partnering with a city/community on our project idea but it is unlikely that we will have that relationship finalized before we submit the concept note. Is this something that needs to be confirmed before we submit the concept note?
Answer 11: Teaming arrangements do not have to be finalized at the Concept Paper phase of the application process.
Question 12: Section II award information notes that individual awards may vary between $500,000 and $5,000,000.  For specific topics, “anticipated” minimum award sizes and periods of performance are noted.  Will DOE consider project proposals that are below the anticipated award size and/or period of performance?
Answer 12: Yes. The anticipated minimum award size identified only illustrates, at a minimum, the amount that DOE anticipates to fund awards selected under that specific AOI. Applicants proposing projects that request less DOE funding than the anticipated minimum award size or shorter periods of performance will not be considered ineligible.
Question 13: Are cost share commitments the only letters submitted with the full application? Do we need letters of commitment from collaborators who are not in the budget but who will have a role in the project?
Answer 13: Consistent with section IV.D.xviii of the FOA, cost share commitment letters must be submitted with the full application.  These letters are only required for team members who will be contributing cost share as part of the project.  The application must be clear why and how some contributors are expending resources on the project but are not represented in the project budget.  A separate letter is not required for these entities.
Question 14: Regarding Topic Area 1b: 1. Is this something that DoE is looking at for a demonstration product at the end of the contract? 2. Is DoE expecting specific vehicle technologies or will it be required to be open to all vehicle charging technologies?
Answer 14:
  1. Projects proposed for Area of Interest 1b require a demonstration during the period of performance.
  2. Area of Interest 1b does not limit applicants to a specific charging technology as long as the proposed concept meets the power levels and charging rate specified in the topic.
Question 15: These questions seek to clarify what is highly discouraged in applications for Technology Integration Areas of Interest. 1. To clarify the request that applications not promote a specific brand, does that just mean the application not mention the products and service providers that will be used for the proposed study? In other words, just have the application speak generally about the products and services? Or can the application mention the brands of the products and services to be used as long as the application is not written to promote those particular brands (i.e., other brands could be substituted)? 2. Can the funds be used for leasing vehicles and paying a provider to service them? Does the ability to use funds for leased vehicles depend on their use (e.g., using leased vehicles to collect data)? 3. AOI 3d states applications that include "low speed vehicles, novelty vehicles, and other off road recreational or sport vehicles" are highly discouraged. AOI 3f also highly discourages applications with those vehicles, adding "restricted" to their description of low speed vehicles. However, AOI 3b only discourages "novelty vehicles and other off road recreational or sport vehicles." Four questions: 1) To clarify, does AOI 3b allow / encourage applications that use low speed vehicles since those type of vehicles are not specifically listed as being discouraged? 2) Does low speed vehicle refer to those defined by NHTSA? 3) What types of vehicles are considered novelty vehicles? 4) Are all terrain vehicles (ATVs) that are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission considered "off road recreational and sport vehicles" and not considered low speed vehicles?
Answer 15:

1.  The application can identify brands and partner with a brand name company. The intent here is the application should not be used to promote specific brands.

2.  While use fees/leasing vehicles and maintenance on the vehicles is not a restricted project cost, applicants are encouraged to partner with truck providers that would provide vehicles for the platooning activities

3.  Answer 1:   Yes (Please note that all vehicles must be compliant with applicable Federal and state emissions and safety regulations for their intended use as well as any applicable state/local DMV regulations.)

Answer 2:  Restricted use low speed vehicle refers to those that are NOT licensed/approved for on-road use at regular highway speeds and/or those that are limited to operation on secondary streets or below certain speed limits.

Answer 3:  Novelty vehicles are those that are primarily designed for sport and recreation and are not approved for use on public roads. Examples include go-carts, golf-carts, skate boards, land sailing carts, propeller/wind driven vehicles, racing/competition vehicles, etc.

Answer 4:  Yes. Projects that include ATVs and other recreational/sport vehicles are discouraged.

Allowable vehicles types:  Unless otherwise noted, AOI 3b, 3d, and 3f are primarily focused on vehicles that are licensed and approved for on-road use at regular highway speeds. All vehicles must be compliant with applicable Federal and state emissions and safety regulations for their intended use as well as any applicable state/local DMV regulations.

Question 16: In the FOA description for concept papers, on page 44 it is stated that, “Applicants may provide graphs, charts, or other data to supplement their Technology Description.” Please clarify that this means that graphs, charts and other data can be provided in an addendum and not counted against the 3 pages for the Technical Description. Can you please confirm?
Answer 16: The graphs, charts, or other data to supplement the Technology Description is within the three page limit.
Question 17: For any of the AOIs in Technology Integration (e.g, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3f), is there a requirement that the case study area must be in the US? Is it acceptable to have two study areas, one in the US and one outside the US?
Answer 17: While the FOA topics you note do not specifically require the case study area to be in the US, the FOA does require that all work performed under EERE awards be performed in the United States as described in section IV.I.iii of the FOA. Based on that requirement,  a study area outside the US would not be acceptable.
Question 18: On page 33, the second paragraph says "A foreign entity may receive funding as a Subrecipient. “  Does this mean that even if a foreign entity is a sub-recipient, it can only perform work in the US, for example, the foreign entity sends its researchers to work in the US.
Answer 18: Yes, that is correct.  If a foreign entity is a sub-recipient, they must perform the work in the United States.
Question 19: The Indirect Costs worksheet of the Budget Justification document states “A federally approved indirect rate agreement, or rate proposed (supported and agreed upon by DOE for estimating purposes) is required if reimbursement of indirect costs is requested.”  We would be requesting reimbursement of our indirect costs.  Our company normally uses provisional/billed rates when estimating costs for our programs.  Are we allowed to use our provisional/billed rates for proposals submitted under this FOA or will EERE only accept rates included in our latest federally approved rate agreement?
Answer 19: Yes, you can use provisional/billed rates.
Question 20: The FFRDC Contractor Authorization letter that’s required should be addressed to whom, name and mailing address, please?
Answer 20: Please address the FFRDC Contract Authorization Letter to Sue Miltenberger, Contracting Officer, US DOE/NETL, 3610 Collins Ferry Road, PO Box 880, Morgantown, WV 26507-0880
Question 21: If a university is the Prime Recipient, and will work with Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC). Is the funding of FFRDC coming out of the total proposed budget of this proposal (for example, up to $2 M), or is it being provided separately from DOE?
Answer 21: In the full application, the budget detail and SF-424 must include all project costs, including the FFRDC costs.  If selected for award, the recipient would be awarded the negotiated budget amount minus the budgeted FFRDC costs.  The funding for the FFRDC work will be provided directly to the FFRDC through DOE HQ.