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: Could I please received an active link to this FOA: Advanced Biomass Feedstock Logistics Systems II
Answer 1: The full announcement for DE-FOA-0000836 is located in EERE's Exchange system at
Question 2: Can a startup, for profit company apply for this funding? We are about to launch in the next ten days and funding has been a challenge for us.
Answer 2: Please refer to "Section III: Eligibility" of the announcement.  DOE will not make eligibility determinations for potential Applicants prior to the date on which Applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision whether to submit an Application in response to this FOA lies solely with the Applicant.
Question 3: 1. Should we include costs for the required Go/No Go review meetings in the budget? (See p. 40 in the FOA) 2. Pages 12-13 in the FOA describe several items that successful applicants will do. Items 5 & 6 are clearly technology demonstration tasks. However the technical economic analyses described in items 7 & 8 seem to be R&D type activities rather than purely demonstration. Because the required cost share is different for the two types of tasks, can we consider tasks related to items 7 & 8 as R&D? Assuming yes, can we exceed the suggested 10% limit of R&D activities in the project?
Answer 3:

1. Yes, the costs for the required Go/No-Go review meeting can be included in the budget.

2. Per the FOA, I.3. “A limited amount of preparatory work to support the design of the proposed project system will be permitted within the scope of the project.  Typically, up to 10% of the total project budget may be proposed for the preparatory R&D, but the amount is subject to negotiation after notification of selection for negotiation of an Award.  Preparatory work may include limited R&D, including expenses for equipment, salaries, and supplies.”  The applicant must decide how to present the work in their proposal, including related cost share percentages, which may be subject to negotiations.  The 10% guideline for R&D is not meant as an absolute upper limit.

Question 4: On page 16 it states that only new applications will be considered.  I am currently interpreting that to mean that the five High Tonnage Logistics projects funded in FY09 are not eligible to request a renewal of their work under this FOA.  Is this correct?  Does that statement apply to other DOE funded projects? I have been doing DOE funded work on logistics with congressionally mandated funding in the period FY09-11.  Would an application based upon the work done under that DOE funding be viewed as a renewal?  The anticipated system for the application would be based upon information gained during that project, but would be a significantly expanded team and scope of work.  I just want to be sure that we would not be excluded from consideration before we go to a great deal of effort.
Answer 4: The DOE defines a renewal as:  “An award which adds one or more additional budget periods to an existing project. Discretionary renewal awards may be made either on the basis of a funding opportunity announcement or on a noncompetitive basis when justified (see 10 CFR 600.6),”  per the DOE  Guide to Financial Assistance, which can be found at:  Applicants can make their own determination about applying to this FOA based on this definition of a renewal.
Question 5: The FOA states “No plant based material that is generally intended for use as food or animal feed may be employed as a feedstock.” Are there specific feedstocks that are allowable or unallowable? Would sweet sorghum be considered an acceptable feedstock?
Answer 5: Sweet sorghum is considered an elegible feedstock for purposes of this FOA.  For additional guidance, please see "High Impact Feedstock" in Appendix A of the FOA.
Question 6: Is biomass energy (heat and power) considered an allowable product under this FOA? The biomass would feed a biomass power plant or be co-fed with coal to generate electricity.
Answer 6: As stated in Sections I.3 and I.5 of the FOA, the biorefinery partner involved in the project proposal must have a process that produces a cellulosic biofuel.  Thus, if heat and power are the only products envisioned for the conversion process, the proposal would not be considered responsive to the FOA.
Question 7: Is there a template or required format other than the information provided in section IV (page 21-22) of the FOA?
Answer 7: There is  not a template for the Concept paper.  Please follow the requirements provided in Section IV.  The full application will require specific forms which have been provided as downloadable copies in Exchange.
Question 8: The Densification Workshop Report referenced in the FOA presents liquefaction as viable feedstock densification strategy. However, the FOA generally is built around solid format feedstock supply systems concepts. That leaves of with three questions: 1) Is distributed liquefaction (i.e. depot based) considered a compliant densification technology for this FOA? 2) Is a supply system delivering a liquid intermediate to the "conversion reactor throat" as stated in the FOA consider compliant to the technical objectives? The "conversion reactor throat" specifically being an industry heat or power application, or a residential heating market application in the case of this conceptual liquid format supply system. 3) If the supply system delivers a liquid intermediate which requires significantly less "conversion" to reach the desired end state energy product, is it possible to shift the cost target split between the logistics system and the conversion system? Restating this question, if the overall target of $3/GGE is achieved and the logistics system is producing an intermediate product (i.e. stable bio-oil) which requires less conversion costs, is it compliant with the FOA objectives to have a logistics system cost greater than $80/DT?
Answer 8:

1) Yes

2)  Yes, but only if the biorefinery produces a cellulosic biofuel, as defined in Appendix A.  This definition comes directly from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which defines a Renewable Fuel Standard for liquid transportation fuels. 

3) As stated in Section I.5, Technical Barrier Area 2, if you can convincingly demonstrate in the proposal that the overall value chain, including the feedstock supply system, can produce liquid transportation fuel at less than $3/GGE, then the $80/DT target does not apply.  However, the proposal must still demonstrate an integrated feedstock supply system and document the economics around that system. 

Question 9: Regarding DE-FOA-0000836 instructions on equipment, are modifications to facilities in order to accommodate a specific piece of equipment an eligible expense? (Example: adding a separate electrical line required to support a large piece of equipment.)
Answer 9: Based on guiding Cost Principles (2 CFR 220 for Institutions of Higher Education), acquisition costs of capital assets may include ancillary charges, such as installation, as long as the institutions regular accounting practices are followed and the costs are reasonable and allocable. 
Question 10: One question is related to the total amount to be requested. In the RFP, it looks like 1-4 will be funded for $1.5 million to $3.0 million with total budget for this project set at $5.7 million. Do you consider a proposal that requires more than $3.0 million or up to $5.7 million?
Answer 10: As stated in the FOA (Section II.C), the maximum Federal funding for an individual award is $5,700,000.  This value does not represent the entire project cost.  Recipient cost share (Section III.B) will be required and should be factored into all applications.
Question 11: I have two questions regarding FOA# DE-FOA-0000836.  The first is regarding the SF 424 A.  Should Sections A – Budget Summary, Section B – Budget Categories, and C – Non-Federal Resources show totals for Year 1 only or should it include the cumulative totals for the entire project? The second question is regarding the start date of the project.  Is October 1 the required start date for this award or can it be anytime during the year?
Answer 11: 1) As stated in the FOA, the dates and dollar amounts on the SF 424A are for the complete project period and not just the first year, first phase or other subset of the project period.  Since Budget Periods should be clearly identified throughout the proposal, it would be beneficial to separate each Budget Period in its own row or column within the SF 424A and PMC 123.1.  DOE will require a Go/No-Go review between successive budget periods of the project.  Budget Period 1 will culminate with a DOE Go/No-Go decision point.  A Go/No-Go review meeting will be convened and attended by DOE staff and a group of independent reviewers who are experienced in the field.  The DOE Contracting Officer will make the Go/No-Go decision based upon the results of this review, prior to the project moving forward to Budget Period 2.  Budget Period 1 and Budget Period 2 activities will be clearly delineated in the Statement of Project Objectives (SOPO).
2) Please include a preferred start date.  The actual start date will be negotiated during the award process.
Question 12: Would you please clarify two questions regarding content of the Letters of Commitment for DE-FOA-0000836? 1) Can the statement from a biorefinery confirming that “the information contained in the Proposal regarding the biomass conversion process type; the primary biofuel product of the conversion process . . .” (p. 27) be included in the Letter of Commitment if the biorefinery is also providing cost share? Or, is it required that this statement be provided in a separate letter? 2) Should/can Letters of Commitment contain text from third parties discussing their support for, and role in, the project, in addition to cost share information?
Answer 12:

1) Both items can be completed in the same letter, but if two letters is preferred for some reason, two letters would be fine

2) Letters of commitment from third parties should contain language that relates to their roles and responsibilities, as well as financial commitment to the project.


Question 13: Is there flexibility in the start date of the project, or does the DOE require a specific date?  The FOA states notification will be July 2013 and awards made by approximately September 2013.
Answer 13: Please see Question 11.
Question 14: Attached please find an Application for Federal Assistance SF-424 submitted to the GO Logistics mailbox.
Answer 14:

Applications must be received by FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2013, not later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time. You are encouraged to transmit your Application well before the deadline. APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED VIA EERE EXCHANGE AT RECEIVED AFTER THE DEADLINE WILL NOT BE REVIEWED OR CONSIDERED FOR AWARD.

Question 15: We missed the closing for concept paper submission, but hope to make the Full Application of 3/22/13.
Answer 15:

As stated in the FOA, a concept paper is REQUIRED and must be submitted to the EERE Exchange system at by 5:00 PM ET on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013. Applicants who fail to submit the required concept paper by 5:00 PM ET on FRIDAY FEBRUARY 15, 2013 will not be eligible to submit a full Application to this FOA.

Question 16: How do we get our company recognized as a priority applicant due to Disabled Veteran status?
Answer 16:

As stated in Section V – Application Review Information, Applications will be evaluated against the merit review criteria and program policy factors.  Disabled Veteran status is not included in these criteria and will not be factored into the application.

Question 17: Whether each participant of the project will come up with the 20% match individually (or) it is okay if the match is shown on a overall basis?
Answer 17:

Applicant cost share can be realized on an overall basis.  Section III.B and Appendix C provides additional information on cost share percentages and allowability.

Question 18: For Section 13 (EnvQues) and Section 14 (EnvChecklist), the FOA states that we must complete the environmental questionnaire (or environmental checklist). However, the FOA also states “Do not submit the form online through the EERE Project Management Center website; as it will not be reviewed as part of the Application.” What does an applicant do with the completed Section 13- Environmental Questionnaire and Section 14 – Environmental Checklist?
Answer 18:

The EERE Project Management Center (PMC) is a different website than EERE Exchange.  Please upload both forms in the “Upload and Submit” tab at EERE Exchange

Question 19: The FOA discusses that a separate budget for each subawardee must be included and a PMC 123.1 Budget Justification file. It discusses how the PMC 123.1 should be saved and also there is a place in the EERE Exchange to upload this. Is there a specific budget template for subawards and how and where should these be saved.
Answer 19:

The PMC 123.1 Budget Justification is the only form required for each subawardee.  Please upload to the Subaward Budget Justification file(s) or as Additional files.  Please name each file with the Lead Organization as well as the SubAwardee as specified in the FOA.

Question 20: Control number 0838-xxxx To date, we have not received an email with additional information and I have also checked the website. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t missing something and not allow myself sufficient amount of time in completing all documents required for submission for my PI by March 22nd.
Answer 20: From the control number provided, this concept paper was submitted to the DE-FOA-0000838 “Sunshot Incubator Program” FOA.  The mailbox for that FOA is
Question 21: Is there a specific B&R # associated with this FOA?
Answer 21: Feedstock B&R number: 0108020
Question 22: Who is the DOE Project Agent on this project? It is a required field to compete the EF1 on the NEPA Environmental Checklist submission page.
Answer 22:

The DOE Project Agent is not a required field on the EF1.  Please be sure to use the most up-to-date forms provided with the FOA listing in EERE Exchange.

Question 23: I have read your answer to Question 19 and am still confused as to what budget items we need to supply for the subawardees. The FOA states: 9. Subaward Budget File(s) You must provide a separate budget (i.e., budget for each budget year and a cumulative budget) for each subawardee that is expected to perform work estimated to be more than $100,000 or 50 percent of the total work effort (whichever is less). A PMC 123.1 Budget Justification file for the subaward budget is also required. The budget justification must include the same information described in Paragraph 7 above. Save each Subaward budget justification in a single file titled “ControlNumber_LeadOrganization_SubAwardee_Budget”. Does this mean you want a separate SF424A for each year and an additional cumulative SF424A? Is only one PMC 123.1 required from each subawardee for the entire period? Your answer to question 19 seems to indicate that an SF424A in not even required for the subawards?
Answer 23: The SF424A is not required for subawardees.  Only one PMC 123.1 is required from each subawardee that is expected to perform work estimated to be more than $100,000 or 50% of the total work effort (whichever is less).
Question 24: In reference to using a blended cost share percentage, in the application tab “Funds and Costs” – which category should we select: 20% - R&D or 50% Demonstration – there isn’t a choice of “Blended”?
Answer 24: Please select 20% for a blended cost share.
Question 25: 1. What is the maximum allowable percentage of scope for R&D at 20% cost share? 2. Please define what the “throat of biorefinery reactor” would be for a gasification-based biorefinery, is it the throat of the gasifier or further upstream in preprocessing like drying that happens before the gasifier?
Answer 25:

1.        There is no maximum amount of R&D effort at 20% cost share specified in the FOA.  However, the guidance in Section I.3 of the FOA states: “Typically, up to 10% of the total project budget may be proposed for the preparatory R&D, but the amount is subject to negotiation after notification of selection for negotiation of an Award.”  While proposals could include larger fraction of the federal funding be used for R&D, the FOA emphasizes the design, construction and demonstration of field-scale logistics and feedstock quality management technologies, all of which would be considered demonstration activities requiring a minimum 50% cost share. 

2.       The phrase “throat of the biorefinery bioreactor” in the context of this FOA means the inlet to the actual conversion process.  In the example you present, this would be the inlet to the gasifier. 

Question 26: The biorefinery partner on our proposed project team plans to run the feedstock from the logistics chain (harvest, pre-processing, transport) in their process. Can DOE funds be used to pay for this run of the biorefinery process on the feedstock?
Answer 26: Biomass conversion R&D and demonstration efforts appear to be outside the scope of this FOA.  However, the intent of the FOA is to develop technologies that can reliably deliver feedstock materials to biorefineries at an acceptable cost and that perform well in a biomass conversion process.  Ultimately, allowable costs must be in compliance with the applicable Cost Principles (see 10 CFR 600.127, 10 CFR 600.222, and 10 CFR 600.317), including being directly allocable to the approved Statement of Project Objectives for the awarded project.
Question 27: Question Regarding - Project Narrative, Section B Merit Review Criteria Discussion In Section V, Application Review Information (1) Potential Impact of the Proposed Technology Relative to State-of-the-Art (30%), bullet point one: Present a meaningful analysis of the current state of technology for logistics-related costs and feedstock quality parameters for the selected “high impact feedstock(s)”. Can you please clarify what type of information and/or details you are looking for in the response to the question?
Answer 27:

In this criterion, DOE is trying to prompt responses from applicants that will give the reviewers a sense that the applicant understands what logistics options are currently available, the advantages and limitations of those systems relative to your proposed new system, and the costs associated with currently available logistics technologies.

Question 28: I just wanted to check and see if the DOE Order 412.1, Work Authorization System forms were the only budgetary information needed for the FFRDC. Is there a separate budget or PMC123 budget justification form needed in addition to this? Thanks.
Answer 28:

As stated in Section IV.C.11 of the FOA, the Field Work Proposal is the budget form for FFRDC’s.  A PMC 123.1 or separate budget is not required.

Question 29: Could you please tell me to whom the CO authorization letter should be addressed for DE-FOA-0000836?
Answer 29: Please address the authorization letter to the "DOE Contracting Officer for DE-FOA-0000836".
Question 30: Would you please let me know what methods were used to communicate the results of the concept paper reviews to the applicants?
Answer 30:
The status of the concept papers submitted in response to DE-FOA-0000836 ”ADVANCED BIOMASS FEEDSTOCK LOGISTICS SYSTEMS II” was posted to EERE-Exchange (  Applicants must login to Exchange to view comments for their concept paper.