Directed Funding Opportunity for Biomass Compositional Analysis
|May 3, 2021||DFO announcement|
|May 11, 2021||DFO webinar with open Q&A|
|May 24–28, 2021||Applicant presentations|
|June 11, 2021||Notice of intent deadline|
|June 18, 2021||Proposal submission deadline|
|July 30, 2021||Anticipated notification|
|September 2021||Anticipated project kickoffs|
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is offering directed funding assistance for industry and universities interested in leveraging NREL's unique biomass compositional analysis capabilities.
All U.S. companies and universities are eligible to apply for this directed funding opportunity (DFO).
Foreign companies and universities are eligible subject to DOE headquarters approval of the project.
Watch a recording of the DFO for Biomass Compositional Analysis informational webinar held on May 11, 2021.
How To Apply
Follow these steps to apply for this DFO. The deadline to submit a white paper proposal is June 18, 2021.
To assist with partnering and technical scope development, see NREL's biomass compositional analysis laboratory procedures.
Prior to submitting a notice to propose a project, please read the terms of the technical services agreement. These terms are non-negotiable, and awarded organizations must be able to agree to these terms.
By no later than 11:59 p.m. MDT on June 11, 2021, complete and submit the form below to facilitate partnering with NREL analysts. No late submissions will be accepted.
To ensure favorable alignment of your organization’s project with NREL’s biomass compositional analysis capabilities, arrange to meet with NREL analysts by May 28, 2021, to give a short presentation about your proposed project and topic areas.
Based on this preliminary meeting, you will be encouraged or discouraged to provide a formal white paper proposal submission. If the white paper proposal is encouraged, NREL analysts will be available to assist with developing the scope of work.
Use the Biomass Analysis Technologies—Analytical Development Support DFO White Paper Template to develop your white paper proposal. Anticipated period of performance for all work should be less than 24 months.
To receive white paper proposal development assistance from NREL, contact analytical.DFO@nrel.gov by June 18, 2021.
White Paper Proposal Specifications and Elements
White paper proposals should be no more than 10 pages in length. In addition to project title and contact information for both industry and national lab partners, the white paper proposal should include the following elements (suggested length given in parentheses):
- Technical approach (~2 pages)
- Scope of work (3–4 pages)
- Potential for Impact (2–3 pages)
- Appropriateness of government funding (~1 page).
Accepted Topic Areas of Interest
Proposed projects must benefit the biofuels and bioproducts industry. White paper proposals will be accepted in the following topic areas:
- Characterization of Mixed Carbohydrate Streams
This area of interest seeks to improve understanding of mixed carbohydrate usage during conversion to biofuels, bioproducts, or biopower by developing, improving, or assessing analytical methods for speciation and quantifications of poorly quantified analytes.
- Rapid Characterization Methods for Mixed Carbohydrate and Lignocellulosic Streams
This area of interest seeks proposals to advance development of rapid measurement techniques, such as spectroscopic methods, that enable at-line or on-line stream characterization for use by biomass carbohydrate, mixed carbohydrate, lignocellulosic, or waste-to-energy conversion facilities.
- Analytical Methods for Characterization of Wet Organic Wastes
This area of interest seeks to develop standardized analytical methods to support cost-advantaged feedstocks, including (but not limited to) feed streams for anaerobic digestion that improve understanding of components present in the streams.
Cost Sharing and Funding Levels
The white paper proposal should include a commitment to cost share contributions of 20% of the total project funding. Research project funding levels should range between $150k and $500k per project. The total program funding available is $1.5M.
Submit your completed white paper proposal to analytical.DFO@nrel.gov by June 18, 2021. Late white paper proposals will not be accepted.
How the Project Review and Funding Process Works
A panel of external reviewers will be selected by BETO to perform the reviews based on review criteria in the table below.
|Technical approach: research plan, technical challenges addressed, NREL capabilities leveraged, milestones, proposed budget, and schedule||50%|
|Potential impact: targeting BETO goals, addressing technical barriers, and market impact on the biofuels and bioproducts industry||40%|
|Appropriateness of government funding, key personnel, and resources||10%|
Reviewers will score the white paper proposals based on the associated weighting of each criteria, and white paper proposals will be ranked in priority for funding.
It is anticipated that notification of funding awards will be sent to organizations who have submitted white paper proposals by July 30, 2021.
Prior to starting a project, a technical services agreement (TSA) must be signed by the company or university and NREL. The terms of the TSA agreement are non-negotiable. This agreement is silent on the treatment of intellectual property (IP), and it is not expected that IP will be generated in most projects under this program. If IP is a possibility, it will require special arrangements and be independently assessed and managed prior to the start of any work.
As background, NREL is a government-owned lab, managed and operated by Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, for DOE. The TSA is one of the mechanisms DOE permits NREL to use when we perform services for outside entities. It has limits of $500,000 in value and 3 years for the period of performance, and has been preapproved by DOE, so we can get it in place fairly quickly. The flip side of this is that we cannot make any changes to the terms. It may be, however, that if you have concerns about anything here we can resolve them with some explanation.
See example TSA.
Awarded projects are expected to begin in September 2021.
Once a project begins, the project will be subject to normal review and monitoring by BETO. It is encouraged to provide notice of significant outcomes from the project to BETO in a timely manner. Outcomes may include publications in peer-reviewed journals, technical highlights citing impact to the industry partner or the bioenergy field in general, realized cost savings, or risk mitigation for the industry partner.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. No funding will be made directly available to companies/universities. Funding for projects will be sent to NREL for those scientists, engineers, and analysts to develop these analytical methods and sensors on behalf of the applying entity.
Companies are required to commit resources to the partnership in the form of a minimum 20% cost share (e.g., for a project with a total budget of $200K, available federal funds would total $160K, and the industry partner would expect to contribute a minimum of $40K).
No. The DFO is intended for stakeholders to leverage national laboratory resources. A company may subcontract part of the work to a university as part of their cost share, but DOE funds are only allocated to the national labs.
Most substantive contributions to the project will count as cost share, such as, but not limited to, labor, travel, materials, equipment, data, or cash. Please see CFR 200.306 for more details on what is considered allowable cost share.
The white paper proposal requires industry tasks and deliverables, as well as cost estimates. If selected, the normal DOE requirements for accounting for in-kind cost share will apply.
Projects that propose activities beyond the 24-month time limits can be proposed, but in such cases the review team will concentrate on what is proposed for the anticipated project period.
This is likely to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will refer to the challenges and risks specifically called out in the white paper proposal submission. For instance, where a negative impact of a perceived risk is identified as a potential showstopper, this may necessitate a go/no-go milestone. The milestones should be used to enable proactive project management with clearly defined goals, metrics, and timelines.
For all projects, the non-negotiable technical service agreement (TSA) terms apply. See example TSA.
If there is any possibility of intellectual property being generated, this will be assessed individually and independently managed.
If you have any questions about this DFO, contact analytical.DFO@nrel.gov.