2017 Call for Projects Questions and Answers

PowerAmerica will post all questions and answers for the 2017 Call for Projects below. If you need to submit a question about the 2017 Call for Projects to the PowerAmerica staff please complete the form found on our website.

Q: The FOA states that “Only one (1) Concept Paper per division/site will be accepted from any organization.” For a University applicant can the same person be the lead on a University project, and also team with industry on a different proposal? If a faculty is applying to a project in focus area 3, would they be eligible to apply for educational funding (area 5)?

A: A faculty member may only apply and be awarded a single project in FA 2 through FA 4.  This can be an individual award or as part of a team.   That faculty member may still apply, and be awarded an additional project in FA 5.

Q: Can we propose on a concept that is not listed as a topic or subtopic in the CFP or does PA have no interest in topics/subtopics outside the CFP descriptions?

A: Yes, we will consider concepts that are not specifically listed in the CFP, provided that a compelling case is made that the proposal meets the broad objectives of the CFP as identified at the end of the summary table on page 4. Please note, we will not consider concepts listed in section “B. Applications Specifically Not of Interest” on page 6.

Q: In the RFP, it indicate using >3.3kV WBG device. But, as MV motor and MV drive manufacturers, we have big concern on this. We actually prefer to use 1.7kV WBG devices in order to reduce the insulation stress on motor winding.

So, can we propose a solution for sub topic 4.4b but with 1.7kV WBG devices?

A: Yes.  Solutions that use WBG devices other than those specified in the CFP are acceptable to propose. Provided that a strong technical or economic rationale is made for using the lower voltage device.

Q: We understand that PA will assist with obtaining 3.3 kV, 6.5 kV, and 10 kV engineering samples. We may need multiple number of those engineering samples. Can we assume that we will have those devices available when we write our concept paper and full proposal?

A: We will make every attempt to assist with the acquisition of the stated devices in time for BP4.  But we cannot guarantee that we can acquire them and we will not have them available at the time of writing the concept papers or full proposals.

Q: For a collaborative university/industry/national lab team, does each party need to submit an individual concept paper? If individual concept papers are required, do all the concept paper need to have the same title?

A: For team proposals, just one concept paper describing the team’s activities is required. An extra 2 pages will be allowed to include all contributions.

Q: Topic 2.3 requires completion of five lots within a one-year period if the proposal involves device manufacturing. What are the requirements if the proposal involves demonstration of a new or improved technology in a manufacturing environment?

A: The proposal requires completion of 5 lots for all industrial device projects. Limited development work to transfer a working process from a small volume to a large volume fab can be part of the proposal. A “new” process, which has not been fully demonstrated at good yields in a small fab, will not be supported for volume manufacturing.

Q: I have a question regarding the final demonstration and hardware construction for the grid-related topics asking for direct connection to 4,160 V and 13,800 V ac networks. Is the concept paper and future project expected to propose and demonstrate a whole system implementation? Power ratings in the several hundred kW is not a problem, but scaling up in voltage requires devices that are not readily available (3.3 kV), or very costly (10 kV). Could a scaled-down prototype be constructed instead, keeping the power rating but operating at lower voltages and using 1.7 kV SiC MOSFETs, for instance, in order to succeed in the short-term (12 months) development and demonstration?

A:  For BP3 projects, all engineering devices (3.3 kV, 6.5 kV, 10 kV) were available prior to the start of BP3. We will discuss BP4 device needs early on and expect to have all BP4 engineering samples available timely. Please use the appropriate high voltage devices (3.3 kV, 6.5 kV, 10 kV) in your concept paper.

Q: For sub-topic 4.4b, it is mentioned that” motor drive applications with a > 3 kV DC bus using > 3.3 kV SiC switches”. Could 3.3 kV devices be considered as a candidate? The requirement for switching frequency is “>5 kHz”. Is this a firm requirement?

A: 3.3 kV devices can be used. Switching frequency >5 kHz is desirable.

Q: The CFP states one concept paper per “division/site.” We have 3 divisions on one site – can each separate division submit a concept paper? The 3 divisions are separate business units with different product portfolios.

A: Yes, in that case, each division could submit a concept paper.

Q: Topic 2.3 specifies the funding limits as “up to $600K for industry and up to an additional $300K each for universities and national labs teaming with industry”. If the proposal is led by a university with an industrial partner, is the maximum DoE funding still $900K? In other words, does the industry have to be the prime contractor in such an arrangement for these funding limits to apply? What are the funding limits if the university is the prime?

A: Though we prefer for industry to be the lead on the project as a way to foster commercialization, a university is also eligible to lead the team.  In either arrangement, the funding limits are the same.

Q: This year, it seems like I only submit one. Is this true and a
new requirement? We need to know since I plan to submit one in FA2 and one in FA5.

A: Two submissions for the concept paper are allowed if one is for FA5 and one is for FA2-4.

Q:In the section for “Full Proposals Must Include”, on item 9 on page 9 it lists that a SOPO is required for each organization of the project team. The call for projects document also says multiple-organization projects are encouraged to merge related milestones.

For a project led by industry with National Lab or University partners, is a separate SOPO file desired for each partner or is it desired to integrate the SOPO for the partners into the overall SOPO (one document) submitted by the industry lead organization?

A: We require a single, integrated SOPO file for the project team, submitted by the lead organization.  Within the team SOPO, each team member should have a subtask describing its distinct activities.

Q: This question relates to a funding proposal led by industry in partnership with a National Lab. Does industry partner need to submit separate SOPO, budget form, cost share letter, etc. for National Lab?

A: A single integrated team budget submitted by the lead organization is desired. Tab F (Contractual, sub-recipient, vendor) of the EERE-335.1 spreadsheet should list and describe team member costs. A separate cost share commitment letter for each member of a project team is required. For any team members with project budgets exceeding $250K in federal funds, we will also require a separate, individual EERE-335.1 budget for that team member.

Q: What institute would issue an award for this program? Would it be PowerAmerica, Manufacturing USA, U.S. Department of Energy, North Carolina State, or other?

A: North Carolina State University will issue the sub-award for selected projects.

Q: Can the subaward template, Cooperative Agreement and Intellectual Property clauses that will be flowed down be provided for review? Is there a Class Patent Waiver applicable to large businesses?

A:The Intellectual Property provisions are described in the PowerAmerica Bylaws, which can be downloaded from the Membership page of our website (https://poweramericainstitute.org/membership/apply-to-be-a-member/), and in the sub-award.   The sub-award template, Cooperative Agreement and flow down clauses are fairly extensive.  Please contact Randy Bickford (brbickfo@ncsu.edu) who can provide them directly to interested parties. There is a class patent waiver for those that meet the requirements of p. 17 (linked to here) in Attachment 4 of our Cooperative Agreement from DoE.

Q: Our prime of the concept paper does not want to participate in the full-proposal submission anymore. Can I ask another company to join the team and lead the team for the full submission?

A: Yes.  If your Concept Paper team member has withdrawn and you can find another industrial partner to fill that role, then you may do so for the Full Proposal.

Q: The EERE-335.1 Budget Justification was pulled from the Solicitation. There are 5 Budget Periods on this form. Budget Period 1, 2, 3 & 5 are grey-out. I am only allowed to enter cost in Budget Period 4. Can you please advise if costs should be entered into Budget Period 4 only?

A: Yes, please complete just BP4 at this time.

Q: We are submitting a proposal for BP4, and my legal dept is asking for the DOE program number.
The example they gave me is DE-FOA-[XXXX] 
Can you provide me this number?

A: Our DOE prime award number is DE-EE0006521. The original Funding Opportunity Announcement number from DOE was DE-FOA-0000683. And if they need the CFDA number that is 81.086.

Q:  For full proposal, you mentioned 15 pages maximum for item 1-6. Does 15 pages include the singed letter of commitment? If it includes the letter of commitment, does this mean the maximum page of technical approach is less than 10 pages?

A: The 15 page limit includes the letter of commitment.   The page limit for the technical project description is 10 pages.

Q: Just notice that a deliverable is listed for each subtask. Is it mandatory? Is it possible to have subtask without deliverable?

A: No. A deliverable is not required for each subtask.

Q: Do we need to use the SOPO template or can we type in the same wording in MS Word? Also, we have a partner organization, and the SOPO is running long. Is the 3 page limit a requirement when two organizations are partnering?

A: Please use the SOPO template provided. If you have trouble with or need modifications to the template please contact Meg Chester at Meg_Chester@ncsu.edu. For proposals with multiple partner organizations, we will accept an additional SOPO page.

Q: Can you tell me the deadline for the submission on January 19, 2018? Is it 5 p.m.midnight, or another time?

A: The deadline is 11:59 pm on January 19, 2018.

Q: The full proposal asks for the teaming arrangement with a description of roles and key personnel (1 page max). As we work together with a university partner, putting all in 1 page is difficult to accomplish. Can the team arrangement be expanded to 2 pages in that case?

A: Yes, the teaming discussion can be expanded to 2 pages.