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: May multiple companies join together to  submit a single joint application to this FOA?
Answer 1:

Yes, multiple entities may join together in the form of a consortia to submit a joint application.  Please see section III.A of the FOA for more information regarding the eligibility of Incorporated and Unincorporated Consortia.

 

Question 2: I have review the DE-FOA-0002678 and want to confirm whether this new opportunity meets the requirement for the 40207(c), Component processing, portion of the grant. Could you direct me to the person who I can speak with in order to confirm this matter?
Answer 2:

Due to the competitive nature of the announcement and in order to provide fairness to all potential applicants, DOE is unable to advise or provide input to any potential applicants during the FOA process.  Applicants must make their own determination as to whether or not their current circumstances fulfill the requirements of the announcement.

 

Question 3: I'm having trouble accessing the full pdf of the FOA; the file seems to be corrupted. Could you please share it via email?
Answer 3:

Please try either using a different web browser to open/download the document or download the document to your computer and then use the Adobe software on your computer to open the file locally.

 

Question 4: Hello, I was wondering how does our company get on to the Teaming partner list for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing Funding Opportunity? We have technology that we would like to use to support and collaborate together with Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing.
Answer 4:

Please see Section I.A.iv. (p16) of the FOA: Any organization that would like to be included on this list should submit the following information: Organization Name, Contact Name, Contact Address, Contact Email, Contact Phone, Organization Type, Area of Technical Expertise, Brief Description of Capabilities, and Area of Interest. Interested parties should email the information to DE-FOA-0002678@netl.doe.gov with the subject line “Teaming Partner Information.” Please read the disclaimer on p 16 of the FOA.

 

Question 5: What level of detail is required for the Letter of Intent?
Answer 5:

Section IV. C. (page 56) describes the content required for the Letter of Intent

Question 6: I just saw that the DE-FOA-0002678 is now accepting applications. I am reviewing the required forms/documents and will prepare them for submission. I am wondering what the difference is between this FOA, and the DE-FOA-0002677 and should we apply for both (when 0002677 is open for application)? It looks like they both focus on “Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing”.
Answer 6:

DE-FOA-0002677 is the Notice of Intent which states that the Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0002678 will be released.  You can only apply to  DE-FOA-0002678.

 

Question 7: Funding Opportunity Announcement for AOI 6 indicates that battery cells be used in electric vehicle and/or energy storage. Do electric vehicles include especially electric helicopters (VTOL), motorcycles, off road vehicles, commercial vehicles, recreational vehicles (RV)? Thank you.
Answer 7:

It is the prospective applicant’s responsibility to make the determination if their proposed project meets the requirements identified in the FOA.  DOE definition of electric vehicles includes all battery based modalities.

 

Question 8: The objective of this area of interest is to accelerate commercialization of innovative manufacturing processes for battery cells, materials, or components that have never been utilized at scale for the electric vehicle and electric grid market through large-scale pilot demonstration projects.
Answer 8:

Please refer to the AOI 12 objective statement regarding innovative.

 

Question 10: My EERE question is in regard to my company being able to apply for funding under DE-FOA-0002678 “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing Funding Opportunity Announcement” given I have not yet been able to re-register in SAM and am not sure how long it will take to resolve the technical difficulties with getting re-registered.
Answer 10:
A Letter of Intent (LOI) and/or application may be submitted without having completed the full SAM registration process. Please note that a UEI number that is obtained during the SAM registration process IS required in order to submit a LOI and/or application.

Question 11: In connection with the above Funding Opportunity, please help us with the following: 1. Could you provide a copy of the document “DE-FOA-0002678”. At the EERE website, after downloading it (multiple times by now) the document cannot be opened. It says the file is corrupted. 2. Where can we find a sample Letter of Intent?
Answer 11:

1. Please try either using a different web browser to open/download the document or download the document to your computer and then use the Adobe software on your computer to open the file locally.  2. Sample Letters of Intent will not be provided.  Section IV. C. on page 56 describes the content required for the Letter of Intent.

Question 12: Can you provide more clarity on what is considered to be existing equipment (not eligible to be included as cost share)? Does this mean equipment installed and in operation at the time the grant is awarded or when the project actually starts? What about equipment ordered before the award is granted?
Answer 12:

Existing equipment that is in use, installed, or purchased prior to the start of the period of performance of an awarded project is not eligible to be used as cost share.  

 

Question 13: [18 page] We plan to build a new factory. However, the typical investment cost of an electrolyte plant is quite less than $100M(about $50M?). According to your FOA, the AWARD amount for a new battery material plant should be at least $100M. Is there any way for our company to be eligible for application?
Answer 13:

The minimum award values were prescribed by BIL and the FOA must comply.  Accordingly, we must adhere to the minimum award value prescribed by the law.

  

Question 14: [76 page] [Locations of Work] We have not yet finalized the site of our new factory. Is it allowed for us to change the factory address on the application form later?
Answer 14:

Please provide the current location(s) of work that is (are) under consideration.  If it changes, you can notify DOE.

 

Question 15: Can you please provide a definition of “expand, retool, or retrofit existing facilities.”
Answer 15:

This is the language that was used in the BIL. DOE will not provide a definition that will limit the scope.

 

Question 16: Is the funding opportunity only reserved for lithium-ion batteries or would this opportunity also be open to additional technologies in the energy storage/battery space. Thank you for the clarification.
Answer 16:

Please refer to the amended FOA.  (Amendment 000001)

 

Question 17: Will any non-lithium battery technologies be eligible and encouraged to apply? Battery technologies based on vanadium, zinc, iron and other non-lithium metals present a significant opportunity for US domestic manufacturing and scale-up to serve the grid stationary storage market in support of solar and wind power. For example, would AOI 4 allow for the processing of spent petrochemical waste containing vanadium for the production of vanadium electrolyte for use in a vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) to be manufactured in the US? Similarly, would AOI 12 allow for investment in a US manufacturing facility to demonstrate production of concentrated vanadium electrolyte (to reduce electrolyte costs) and or production of VRFB cell stacks via new automated manufacturing processes? If the above are NOT considered eligible or encouraged, will there be other FOAs that will support domestic US manufacturing and domestic supply chains for non-lithium energy storage technologies?
Answer 17:

Please refer to the amended FOA.  (Amendment 000001)

 

Question 18: I have a question regarding the LOI for the FOA. Can we included multiple AOIs for the LOI? How about for the full proposal? I know there are up to 12 AOIs listed. Is an applicant limited to one AOI per submission? Or can we include multiple AOIs?
Answer 18:

Applicants are not limited to one AOI and applicants can submit more than one LOI to an AOI.  See Section III.F. of the FOA:  “An entity may submit more than one Full Application to this FOA, provided that each application describes a unique, scientifically distinct project. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an eligible Letter of Intent (LOI) for each application the Applicant is intending to submit.

 

Question 19: Are battery technologies with non-lithium-ion chemistries eligible for this DE-FOA-0002678?
Answer 19:

Please refer to the amended FOA.  (Amendment 000001)

 

Question 20: Would lithium based solid state electrolyte based projects qualify under the scope of this NOI (DE-FOA-0002678) as: a) AOI 8 as a separator b) AOI 10 as an electrolyte c) AOI 12 other material d) Out of scope
Answer 20:

Please refer to the amended FOA.  (Amendment 000001)

 

Question 21: In my company, different departments are preparing to submit different applications to different AOIs. Is it possible to submit multiple applications for different AOIs from one institution? PIs are all different and budget will be managed separately.
Answer 21:

Applicants are not limited to one AOI and applicants can submit more than one LOI to an AOI.  See Section III.F. of the FOA:  “An entity may submit more than one Full Application to this FOA, provided that each application describes a unique, scientifically distinct project. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an eligible Letter of Intent (LOI) for each application the Applicant is intending to submit.”

 

Question 22: In the LOI, does project team members also include partners who aren’t subrecipients of funds?
Answer 22:
The letter of Intent (LOI) must include project participants that contribute to the tasks identified in the project statement of project objectives and are also included in the project budget.

Question 23: We are reviewing the Funding Opportunity Announcement (PDF) downloaded from the EERE Exchange website and have logged into the online Letter of Intent (LOI) on the EERE Exchange website. We would like clarification on the following items. The online LOI form includes fields for Topic, Key Participants, and Technical Point of Contact, while the LOI components in the Funding Opportunity Announcement, page 56, do not. The Funding Opportunity Announcement, page 56, includes LOI components that are not listed in the online LOI form on the EERE Exchange website (missing components in the online LOI form: Whether the application has been previously submitted to DOE; Area of Interest to which they are applying). Can you please confirm if the online LOI includes all of the correct components (and we may disregard the missing components)? Also, can you please confirm if the Abstract maximum is 200 words (listed in the Funding Opportunity Announcement) or 4,000 characters (listed in the online LOI Form)?
Answer 23:

Please refer to the amended FOA.  (Amendment 000001)

Question 24: Questions about Domestic Entities Categorization - If the applicant company is incorporated in a US State and also has a physical place of business in the United States, but the Parent Company with majority ownership is overseas – would the applicant still count as a domestic entity? - If a fund is established and incorporated in the US, but foreign companies invest into this US-based fund and holds majority ownership, would this be considered a foreign fund/entity or a domestic fund/entity?
Answer 24:

A domestic entity is any prime recipient or subrecipient receiving funding under this FOA that is incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States, has a physical place of business in the United States, and has majority domestic ownership or control (for publicly traded companies, this would include stockholders). Any prime or subrecipient that does not meet all of these criteria is a foreign entity in terms of the FOA and must submit a waiver in accordance with the directions provided in Appendix C of the FOA.

 

Question 25: Can the value of tax credits provided by state and local governments count towards the cost share as an in-kind contribution?
Answer 25:

Please review Section III.B of the FOA for requirements regarding cost share.  While DOE generally refrains from making determinations at this stage, note that “cost share contributions must be specified in the project budget, verifiable from the prime recipient’s records, and necessary and reasonable” for the project.  A tax credit does not meet this requirement.

 

Question 26: Can you provide any guidance on the anticipated TRL for pilot-scale manufacturing technologies to be developed in AOI 12? For example, the anticipated TRL (or range of TRL) at the beginning and end of project? Thank you for your support.
Answer 26:

Appendix E of the FOA describes the TRLs.  For AOI 12 it is anticipated that the beginning TRL range would be 6 to 7 and the end TRL range would be 8 to 9.

 

Question 27: On page 47 of the FOA it states “If a foreign entity applies for funding as a prime recipient, it must designate in the Full Application a subsidiary or affiliate that qualifies as a domestic entity to be the prime recipient. The Full Application must state the nature of the corporate relationship between the foreign entity and domestic subsidiary or affiliate.” In the case of a domestically incorporated subsidiary with a physical place of business in the US but which is wholly owned by a foreign entity (this is a very common situation), would this subsidiary be considered a foreign or domestic entity? The quoted sentence implies that it would be considered a domestic entity but the definition of domestic entity on p. 46 implies that it would be considered a foreign entity because of the foreign ownership.
Answer 27:

A domestic entity is any prime recipient or subrecipient receiving funding under this FOA that is incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States, has a physical place of business in the United States, and has majority domestic ownership or control (for publicly traded companies, this would include stockholders). Any prime or subrecipient that does not meet all of these criteria is a foreign entity in terms of the FOA and must submit a waiver in accordance with the directions provided in Appendix C of the FOA.

 

Question 28: Is DE-FOA-0002678 an FOA that is jointly about both the Battery Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program AND the Battery Materials Processing Grant Program, or only one of the two? Given the FOA’s title is a combination of both program names, we wanted to be sure.
Answer 28:

Please read the Areas of Interest in Section I.B. to see what technology areas are covered.

 

Question 29: We are going to apply for this FOA in AOI12. Regarding LOI, when we will hear back about the decision whether ‘Encouraged’ or ‘Discouraged’ after we submit the LOI on 5/27/22?
Answer 29:

DOE will not send out any reply to the LOIs.  (Replies of ‘Encouraged’ or ‘Discouraged’ are used with Concept Papers).

 

Question 30: We are a Canadian company and are in the process of setting up a US Company to apply for this FOA as a prime applicant, with an operating American mining company as the sub-partner. If we cannot get this done before the LOI due date, can we apply and, in our application, note that we are in the process of creating a US Corporation, and if awarded the funding, we will have this in place? Would you recommend the above, or applying as a foreign entity and submitting a waiver? In either option, we are fully committed to working in the USA, employing Americans to help engineer and manufacture our technology, and supporting local communities.
Answer 30:

The DOE does not provide guidance or direction regarding the creation or the organization of applicant companies. Please refer to Section IV.D.xiv of the FOA regarding Foreign Entity Participation requirements.  Please also review Amendment 000001 regarding LOIs.

Question 31: Regarding DE-FOA-0002678 (BIL Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing), we are developing an unconventional source for LCE and refining / converting it to lithium metal for anodes. Further, we are targeting to develop this at commercial scale. The most appropriate AOI we see is AOI 4, but that’s for demonstration projects. Can you provide any guidance how to approach this? Perhaps submit a proposal for AOI 4, and only use grant funds to develop to the point of demonstration? Or is there a different AOI we should consider using?
Answer 31:

DOE does not provide guidance or direction regarding which AOI to apply to and how best to position an application. Also, please refer to the amended FOA.  (Amendment 000001)  

 

Question 32: To meet national competitiveness–for grid storage, would a non-lithium anode battery, specifically, a zinc anode battery technology be considered under AOI 12?
Answer 32:

A battery chemistry is not specified in AOI 12.

 

Question 33: It appears that there are three topic areas that could apply for battery materials processing. Will DOE accept the same proposal under the three topic areas or is there a limitation to only one proposal per applicant for the entire FOA?
Answer 33:

Please refer to section III.F of the FOA regarding the limitation on number of full applications eligible for review.

Question 34: If we are in the process of establishing a 50/50 joint venture operation, but the joint venture will not be legally formed prior to the filing date, can one of the parent companies file the application under an existing registration/UEI and switch over to the joint venture once formed during the awards negotiations phase?
Answer 34:

The DOE does not provide guidance or direction regarding the creation or the organization of applicant companies. In accordance with section III.G of the FOA, the DOE will not make eligibility determinations prior to submission of the application. 

 

Question 35: How can we register to be on the team partner list?
Answer 35:

Please see Section I.A.iv. (p16) of the FOA: Any organization that would like to be included on this list should submit the following information: Organization Name, Contact Name, Contact Address, Contact Email, Contact Phone, Organization Type, Area of Technical Expertise, Brief Description of Capabilities, and Area of Interest. Interested parties should email the information to DE-FOA-0002678@netl.doe.gov with the subject line “Teaming Partner Information.” Please read the disclaimer on p 16 of the FOA.

 

Question 36: Is it possible to submit a project that overlaps grant categories? For example, a project scoped to address both the supply chain elements covered under Section 40207(b) and one or more of the supply chain elements covered by Section 40207(c)?
Answer 36:

Each Application submitted must adhere to a specific AOI’s scope and requirements.    

 

Question 37: Can demonstration project proposals' requirement of $50M threshold be amended for less?
Answer 37:

The minimum award values were prescribed by BIL and the FOA must comply. Accordingly, we must adhere to the minimum award value prescribed by the law.

Question 38: Can topic area 12 start the project at pilot and scale to demonstration during the project period?
Answer 38:

The Projects were prescribed by the BIL and the FOA must comply.  Accordingly, projects must be at the demonstration stage.

Question 39: As the published definitions on the web (e.g. at technology readiness assessment report (energy.gov)) are from 2008. Can you confirm that this guidance regarding the stage of development has not been updated? If it has been updated, please post the link everyone should be using
Answer 39:

Appendix E of the FOA provides definitions of the TRLs to be used with this FOA.

Question 40: How will the following items be ranked, scored and weighted (first, in terms of priority, and secondly in terms of % of points toward award): Energy efficiency measures in the proposed cathode manufacturing process Energy demand requirements of cathode manufacturing process (even if by renewable energy) GHG reduction in construction/operation of commercial cathode manufacturing factory Water reduction Ability to produce cathodes for different compositions such as NMC, NCA and/or LFP Participation by underrepresented partners and suppliers and labor unions
Answer 40:

Subcriteria will be evaluated according to the Technical Review Criteria for the prescribed AOIs as described in Section V.A.& V.B. of the FOA.

Question 41: As mining operations are out of scope for this project, is it possible to have an offtake and LOS from a mining company as a teaming partner? Or would it be preferred they are not included?
Answer 41:

Per FOA Section I.A.C. (Applications Specifically Not of Interest), applications that include mining operations (mining and extraction) or mining equipment, excavation, labor, siting, etc. within the project scope.  It would be acceptable if a project has an offtake agreement with a mining company and the mining company is not being funded by the project.

Question 42: To whom it may concern, we are a foreign (European) company aiming to submit an LoI for the DE-FOA-0002678. We are presently setting up a US subsidiary but expect that there will not be enough time to receive a UEI before the May 27 deadline for Letters of Intent. Our question is if our LoI and application would still be eligible, i.e. with a pending application for UEI?
Answer 42:

The DOE does not provide guidance or direction regarding the creation or the organization of applicant companies. Please refer to Section IV.D.xiv of the FOA regarding Foreign Entity Participation requirements.  Also, please refer to the amended FOA (Amendment 000001) for updated information on the Letter of Intent.

Question 43: Does Buy America or Buy American apply to the battery or battery material?
Answer 43:

From Section IV. J. vi. - To the greatest extent practicable, all equipment and products purchased with funds made available under this FOA should be American-made. This requirement does not apply to used or leased equipment.  From The Buy America Executive Order: A Buy America preference only applies to articles, materials, and supplies that are consumed in, incorporated into, or affixed to an infrastructure project. As such, it does not apply to tools, equipment, and supplies, such as temporary scaffolding, brought to the construction site and removed at or before the completion of the infrastructure project. Nor does a Buy America

preference apply to equipment and furnishings, such as movable chairs, desks, and portable computer equipment, that are used at or within the finished infrastructure project, but are not an integral part of or permanently affixed to the structure.

Question 44: We respectfully request that both LOI and Full Application due dates be postponed by 3-4 weeks.
Answer 44:

DOE currently has no plans to change the due dates.  If this changes in the future, it will be communicated via an amendment to the FOA.

Question 45: I had a quick question about the domestic entity qualification. The definition of a domestic entity is one that has ""majority domestic ownership or control"". How should this language be interpreted? Is domestic ownership qualified by financial ownership or leadership structure? Additionally, if a domestic organization that was incorporated in the US was purchased by a foreign entity, how should the company manage its designation post acquisition? Does that qualify as a domestic entity or a foreign entity?
Answer 45:

A domestic entity is any prime recipient or subrecipient receiving funding under this FOA that is incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States, has a physical place of business in the United States, and has majority domestic ownership or control (for publicly traded companies, this would include stockholders). Any prime or subrecipient that does not meet all of these criteria is a foreign entity in terms of the FOA and must submit a waiver in accordance with the directions provided in Appendix C of the FOA.

Question 46: Is there a specific TRL level necessary to apply for this funding opportunity? If so, what level is it?
Answer 46:

Please refer to the FOA.  If a specific TRL is required, it will be noted.

Question 47: If applicants choose not to submit an LOI for this funding opportunity, will the Apply button for the Full Application become available in the EERE-Exchange portal after the LOI due date?
Answer 47:

Yes. From the Applicant Manual in Exchange: "Please note that submission of EERE Letters of Intent are not required to continue on in the FOA process, but you are encouraged to submit before the posted deadline if you intend to complete a Concept Paper and/or Full Application. Once the Letter of Intent is complete, you will be immediately directed to the next stage of the FOA process."  The letter of Intent (LOI) must include project participants that contribute to the tasks identified in the project statement of project objectives and are also included in the project budget.

Question 48: "My apologies I forgot to ask about the following instruction on page 57 of the funding opportunity announcement. ""Whether the application has been previously submitted to DOE."" In the EERE-Exchange portal, there is a ""Submission Status"" section that is pre-populated with ""New."" For our clarification, since the LOI is pre-populated with ""New,"" will this complete the above-listed LOI instruction (page 57) and also meet the ""New Applications Only"" requirement listed on page 46?"
Answer 48:

Yes.  Indicating that the submission status is new when submitting an LOI meets the requirement as it would be followed up by submitting a new application.

Question 49: Where is the Technical Volume Template for the "Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing” (DE-FOA-0002678) program? I’ve been hunting for a link to it in the FOA, and the Template is also, strangely, not listed under "Required Application Documents.”
Answer 49:

There is no Template for the Technical Volume.  The requirements are listed within the FOA - Section IV.D. ii.

Question 50: Is this FOA only for conventional lithium ion battery? I wonder if commercial scale sulfur cathode production for Li/Sulfur battery fits into this FOA, such as AOI #7.
Answer 50:

DOE will not send out any reply to the LOIs.  (Replies of ‘Encouraged’ or ‘Discouraged’ are used with Concept Papers).

 

Question 51: Is this FOA only for conventional lithium ion battery? I wonder if commercial scale sulfur cathode production for Li/Sulfur battery fits into this FOA, such as AOI #7.
Answer 51:

Please refer to the Amended FOA (000001).

 

Question 52: For materials production, we are unsure about a quantitative definition of "Retooling, Retrofitting, and Expansion (RRE)" relative to "New Facility". For example, would a 20% cost of an otherwise "New Facility" deferred by retrofitting an existing facility be considered a valid RRE for the purposes of this FOA? Or should it be much more than 20% to qualify?
Answer 52:

A new facility would be defined as a facility that was not there before.  Retooling, retrofitting, expanding would ocurr to a facility that is currently existing.

Question 53: Does the FOA generally contemplate funding for non lithium ion processes such as lithium sulfur based cells/batteries/components? Most of the AOIs appear to be focused on components of lithium ion cells/batteries only. These include AOIs 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8. Is that correct? That said, we believe our lithium metal anodes and sulfurized carbon cathodes – used for our lithium sulfur cells/batteries, could also be dropped into lithium ion cells/batteries to make them more effective. Would these production processes which could help improve the performance of lithium ion cells/batteries be potentially qualified for funding under these AOIs? AOI 10: Commercial-scale Domestic Battery Component Manufacturing Open Topic – this AOI appears to focus on lithium-based battery components broadly (not just lithium ion). Is that correct? Would this AOI apply to lithium sulfur cell/battery components? AOI 12: Domestic Battery Cell and Component Manufacturing Demonstration Topic – this AOI appears to contemplate immediate next generation or new cell and component manufacturing, such as lithium sulfur cells/batteries and components. Is that correct?
Answer 53:

Please refer to the amended FOA further details regarding cell chemistry.  (Amendment 000001)

 

Question 54: I am writing with questions regarding DE-FOA-0002678. We are working with a client that does not have an EERE, SAM.gov, or other required registration, so we are working through some of the preliminary registration requirements. First, our client is seeking to apply on behalf of two related entities that wish to submit separate LOIs and that would be the ultimate recipients of the funds if granted. Can our client submit EERE, SAM.gov, and other registration on behalf of itself and submit LOIs for the related entities, or must each of the two related entities file their own required registrations? Second, can the LOI be signed by/include employees that are not located in the United States
Answer 54:

The questions seem to be centered on two different things:  one is registering in the various required systems and one is being the official applying entity.  DOE takes no position on one entity assisting another with system registrations.  Per the Exchange Manual: "At any point in the submission process, you may share your submission with other Exchange users using the Share Submission feature. Sharing a submission with another user will give that user access to edit, view submission decisions, and view reviewer comments for all stages of a FOA."  However, if Company A is to hold the role of prime recipient, then Company A must be registered in Exchange with its own UEI and submit the LOI/Full Application.   This cannot be done by one entity/UEI and later switched to another.  Per Section III.F. of the FOA:  “An entity may submit more than one Full Application to this FOA, provided that each application describes a unique, scientifically distinct project. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an eligible Letter of Intent (LOI) for each application the Applicant is intending to submit.”  Regarding signing the LOI, a form in Exchange is filled out. Please refer to the amended FOA further details.  (Amendment 000001)

 

Question 55: Is there a specific template for the letter of intent, or is it free style?
Answer 55:

A form in Exchange is filled out. Please refer to the amended FOA further details. (Amendment 000001)
Question 56: ) In page 56 of the DOE funding announcement (as attached), it states that the Letter of Intent should include the Project team, including: - The Principal Investigator - Team Members - Senior/Key Personnel As this is a manufacturing investment and not a R&D project, who should we list as Principal Investigator? Our CEO Vincent? Who would be the Team members? Our senior management like Chief Strategy Officer? Who would be the senior/key personnel? Our VP of Manufacturing?
Answer 56:

Please refer to the amended FOA further details and clarifications.  (Amendment 000001)

Question 57: We understand funds cannot buy new or finance existing equipment (we assume third party), buy new or finance existing land, or buy new existing buildings, however we wish to gain further clarity on what is allowable. From the following list, what would NOT be allowable use of grant funds: • Third party purchased equipment • Pilot (bench) equipment we design, manufacture, operate which may include large portions of our core lithium-ion battery recycling system • Demonstration scale equipment we design, manufacture, operate which may include large portions of our core lithium-first extraction system • Innovation, design, engineering for scalable lithium-first extraction systems above • Designing and construction of buildings that store batteries and where our system for recycling and processing is located (Design, engineer and build fire-safe outdoor battery storage and transfer containers which includes rehabilitating fire-safe brownfield lands for additional storage and/ or crushing operations in more than 1 location. • Design, engineer and build fireproof transport containers • Rehabilitating owned buildings or industrial facilities for this new purpose under our project - as a repurposing of those assets. • Labor and related job and economic development, outreach, recruitment, retention, and training costs, inclusive of all diversity, underserved community, and other outreach activity requirements under the grant program. • All ongoing business operating expenses for our battery storage, recycling, and feedstock and customer and commodity sales and distribution operations (any aspect of that system which could include crushing and separating and potentially storage at several locations in the business operations within one state currently). • Permitting and entitlement of operations • Insurance and safety • Lab costs: labor, testing and validation, lab fees and equipment costs when part of operations • Feedstock Purchases • Development and ongoing costs associated with both upstream and downstream supply chain for Marketing, market consultants, carbon lifecycle assessment and monitoring other technical and scientific consultants. • Engineering of system and ongoing operation al engineering as required • O&M of all system and part operations • Energy costs of our operations • Third Party Scientific Feasibility of Technology • Transportation of feedstock in our operational supply chain and that equipment necessary to transport and store if that is an aspect of our operating model.
Answer 57:

DOE will not provide direction or guidance on cost share outside of an application.  Appendix C provides some general guidance, also please see Section I.C.  of the FOA "Applications that propose cost share contributions in the form of donation of land, existing buildings, or existing equipment."

Question 58: We understand the limitation on subordination of grant assets (funds committed) is that other funds or parties CAN NOT legally encumber those funds. Please confirm and clarify the following: • What form of written assurances are required at the stage of application submittal for debt financing or third-party cash equity toward cost-sharing?
Answer 58:

Please review Section III.B of the FOA for requirements regarding cost share.  While DOE generally refrains from making determinations at this stage, note that “cost share contributions must be specified in the project budget, verifiable from the prime recipient’s records, and necessary and reasonable” for the project.

Question 59: Can cash invested prior to the grant submission by a grant-identified cost sharing source of private equity for future project costs be counted toward the cost sharing?
Answer 59:

Please review Section III.B of the FOA for requirements regarding cost share.  While DOE generally refrains from making determinations at this stage, note that “cost share contributions must be specified in the project budget, verifiable from the prime recipient’s records, and necessary and reasonable” for the project.

Question 60: Can recipients add new physical technology or strategic (feedstock or tech) partners to the grant project after award is negotiated?
Answer 60:

New partners may be added to the project after the award is negotiated if the new partner would have been eligible under the FOA when the application was originally submitted and with the Approval of the Department of Energy.  

Question 61: The LIB market is dynamic and fluid: can recipients add new innovations to grant-awarded solutions currently after the grant has been awarded?
Answer 61:

Statements of Project Objectives (SOPOs) should be written broadly enough to allow for some flexibility and innovative approaches through the life of the project.  Once the project is underway, changes can be discussed with DOE and the SOPO could potentially be amended with DOE approval.

Question 62: What are the grant amendment restrictions, processes, and penalties (if any) to this program after an award?
Answer 62:
Each Grant will be subject to Terms and Conditions that must be agreed to prior to the start of the project. These will be addressed during award negotiations. See the following link for a sample of the Special terms and Conditions for Use in most Grants and Cooperative Agreements: https://www.energy.gov/management/financial-assistance-forms-and-information-applicants-and-recipients

Question 63: Can the project transfer ownership or add new ownership during the term of the grant? If so, what are the terms and requirements of such change?
Answer 63:

For the purposes of this question, DOE is assuming "ownership" refers to the prime recipient of the grant.  Ownership of the project cannot transferred without the consent and approval of the DOE.

Question 64: Can the entity awarded funds become a public company during the term of the grant? If so, are there terms or limitations?
Answer 64:

There are no restrictions on this.   

Question 65: What explicit allowable costs and activities as defined as research and development versus commercial operation?
Answer 65: Allowable costs are defined in DOE Financial Assistance Rules 2 CFR Part 200 as amended by 2 CFR Part 910.
Question 66: What are the specific geographical and business ownership exclusions to importing feedstock (batteries): a. -if a recycling facility is one state and we transport/buy feedstock from another state b. -if a transport/buy from outside the US including Canada or Mexico
Answer 66:
According to Section I.B. p 18, priority consideration will be given to eligible entities that will not use battery material supplied by or originating from a foreign entity of concern as defined in 42 U.S.C. 18741 (a)(5). Commitments will be included in the grant terms if selected for award. The use of battery material supplied by or originating from a foreign entity of concern will not preclude an application from consideration; however, applicants are encouraged to speak to how the project team will minimize the use of battery material supplied by or originating from a foreign entity of concern.

Question 67: What are the specific restrictions regarding the recaptured critical materials derived from a process for selling those materials to downstream customers: lithium, black mass, other downstream materials that are recaptured, refine, and produce off a system? Specifically: a. -Can recovered material sold by the recipient be sold as a commodity to US-based company who may also sell materials or new products they make from the critical materials they buy the recipient in the US and overseas broadly to multiple international marketplaces? Are there any countries or specific structures of multi-national ownership that would not be allowed? b. -Please confirm recipients cannot sell recovered commercial materials directly outside the US, including Canada and Mexico.
Answer 67: According to Section I.B. p 18, priority consideration will be given to eligible entities that will not use battery material supplied by or originating from a foreign entity of concern as defined in 42 U.S.C. 18741 (a)(5). Commitments will be included in the grant terms if selected for award. The use of battery material supplied by or originating from a foreign entity of concern will not preclude an application from consideration; however, applicants are encouraged to speak to how the project team will minimize the use of battery material supplied by or originating from a foreign entity of concern. Also, per the FOA Section I.C., Applications that propose exporting recovered or critical materials to a foreign entity of concern as defined in 42 U.S.C. 18741 (a)(5) are applications that are specifically NOT of interest and will be deemed to be nonresponsive and will not be reviewed.
Question 68: Consistent with Executive Order 14008, this FOA is designed to ensure that 40% of the benefits of the overall investments provided through the FOA will be delivered to DACs in accordance with the Justice40 Initiative.” How is this measured, and what is the timeframe a recipient has for achieving this/complying with FOA regulations?
Answer 68:

Please see Sections IV. D. xvii. & V.A & B.

Question 69: Regarding “partnerships” with Tribal Nations and collaboration with universities and research institutes (lower costs, innovation). What are the options to achieve these expectations/goals? Research contracts? Employment opportunities? Placing facilities in Tribal lands? (Inviting them to be actual partners?)
Answer 69: DOE will not provide guidance or direction on how best to create a teaming arrangement.
Question 70: What form of commitment must be provided for feedstock supplier commitments? And for offtake? Solid take or pay arrangements? Soft contracts? A simple indication of intent in letterhead by a reputable party?
Answer 70:

There is no prescribed format regarding Letters of Commitment.

Question 71: Participation by underrepresented partners and suppliers and labor unions is highly encouraged: What is truly considered “participation”? Board presence, shareholding at a certain level, employment in key positions, simple contractual arrangements?
Answer 71:

It is up to the applicant to best define how "participation" is quantified in their proposed project.

Question 72: I have a question regarding the eligibility of synthetic graphite production. Is synthetic graphite production eligible for a grant? Would it fall under 40207(b)? 4207(b)(3)(a) #2 specifically says the objective is to construct facilities that uses synthetic graphite. So I’m wondering if the production of synthetic graphite itself is eligible? This makes it sound like only the downstream processing of the synthetic graphite is eligible?
Answer 72:

Synthetic graphite production is included.

 

Question 73: Page 19 of the FOA, under the header of Requirements: “Applications must include offtake agreements or letters of commitment from one or more battery-grade cathode precursor manufacturers to buy products produced at the proposed manufacturing facility. Both domestic and foreign battery partners may be included. The type, amount, and duration of the commitment shall be included.” Our view: No battery producer will sign such an agreement before they can test our material in their batteries. We respectfully request the removal of this requirement. Or is there another way we can demonstrate that we will sell our product? Perhaps provide marketing data for demand?
Answer 73:

DOE will not provide direction or guidance on how best to satisfy the requirements listed in the AOI.

Question 74: Page 20 of the FOA under the header of Teaming Arrangement: “Applicants must include participation by at least one downstream customer for feedstock qualification. In the event applicants are producing intermediate products that will need additional processing to reach battery-grade materials specifications or products, teaming with a downstream processing partner is required.” Our view: We are committed to remaining independent and have no plans to team up with anyone. There’s such a high demand for our product that there’s no need to team up with another firm. We respectfully request the removal of this requirement.
Answer 74:

DOE will not provide direction or guidance on how best to satisfy the requirements listed in the AOI.  There is no need to form an exclusive teaming arrangement with a specific customer, but the applicant must show their product will meet customer requirements.

Question 76: Does AOI 4 intend to mean a recycling solution, which can be both lithium and black mass producing and proving this from multiple battery sources and types. Does this mean the definition of unconventional is not strictly EV and non/typical sourcing (not just one car maker): i. “4: Demonstrations of Domestic Separation and Production of Battery-grade Materials from Unconventional Domestic Sources”
Answer 76:

AOI 4 is directed to the domestic feedstock sources that will be used and is not meant to include recycling.

Question 76: Does AOI 4 intend to mean a recycling solution, which can be both lithium and black mass producing and proving this from multiple battery sources and types. Does this mean the definition of unconventional is not strictly EV and non/typical sourcing (not just one car maker): i. “4: Demonstrations of Domestic Separation and Production of Battery-grade Materials from Unconventional Domestic Sources”
Answer 76:

AOI 4 is directed to the domestic feedstock sources that will be used and is not meant to include recycling.

Question 77: Does AOI 5 mean the equivalent to four, but without a focus of unconventional battery source (possibly single type). Please distinguish the difference between the two AOIs. i. “5: Demonstrations of Innovative Separation Processing of Battery Materials Open Topic Battery Component Manufacturing and Recycling Grants pursuant to Section 40207(c)(3)(A)”
Answer 77:

AOI 4 is directed to the domestic feedstock sources that will be used and AOI 5 is directed to innovative separation processes.

Question 78: In following the process in preparation of a full application submittal, we are experience some continued delays in securing our UEI number from the SAM.gov website/portal. It is my understanding that the SAM.gov website/portal is going thru some updates and as a result are experiencing some challenges with increased site activity. While this portal issue is being addressed and ultimately gets resolved would it be acceptable to submit a Letter of Intent without the UEI and then update the UEI in our full application once it becomes available?
Answer 78:

EERE Exchange requires a UEI to be included to submit an LOI.  Please see Amendment 000001 for further updated details on the LOI.   A UEI must be secured to submit a Full Application.   

 

Question 79: In Appendix E, Definition of TRL.. What is meant by relevant environment? In relation to TRL 5&6?
Answer 79:

Please note that none of the AOIs require an applicant to include TRLs for their proposed projects.  DOE provides these definitions as a convenience to applicants to develop their applications.

Question 80: 1. Section III.A.iv indicates that a foreign entity must designate in its Full Application a subsidiary or affiliate that qualifies as a domestic entity (described in the prior subsection iii). Must that domestic entity subsidiary or affiliate be legally established at the time the application is submitted or is it acceptable to have the domestic entity in the process of formation/establishment? 2. Similarly, must the domestic entity’s physical place of business in the United States be fully realized at the time the application is submitted? 3. Section III.A.iii says an entity must be domestically owned or controlled. Is “control” defined by DOE? Will an applicant qualify if it foreign majority owned but domestically controlled?
Answer 80:

A domestic entity is any prime recipient or subrecipient receiving funding under this FOA that is incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States, has a physical place of business in the United States, and has majority domestic ownership or control (for publicly traded companies, this would include stockholders). Any prime or subrecipient that does not meet all of these criteria is a foreign entity in terms of the FOA and must submit a waiver in accordance with the directions provided in Appendix C of the FOA.  The full application team must be legally established when the full application is submitted.

Question 81: Is there a possibility that we have a DOE contact window for us to discuss about our research collaborations? We will provide more corporate profile and R&D activities in the next 1-2 days.
Answer 81:

Due to the competitive nature of the announcement and in order to provide fairness to all potential applicants, DOE is unable to advise or provide input to any potential applicants during the FOA process.