Deadline
-
August 8, 2024
3:00 pm
ET

Voucher Opportunity 6: Hydropower Testing Network (HyTN) (Providers)

Information

Description

The Hydropower TestingNetwork (HyTN) program, pronounced heighten, aims to raise the technology readiness of hydropower innovations by connecting technology developers to testing facilities and implementing targeted testing activities that lead to the deployment of sustainable hydropower projects.

This voucher opportunity seeks to provide U.S.-based hydropower technology developers the testing capabilities needed to increase technical readiness and commercialization potential of innovative approaches to hydropower generation. The HyTN Voucher Opportunity, developed in partnership between the Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and ENERGYWERX, facilitates matchmaking between U.S.-based hydropower Technology Developers (voucher recipients) and Test Facilities (voucher providers) with relevant physical testing capabilities.Once matches are made, WPTO funds the test facilities to provide these testing capabilities to the Technology Developers for projects lasting up to one year.

Vouchers will be distributed as in-kind support, meaning that ENERGYWERX will directly reimburse the voucher provider for the work they have completed on behalf of the voucher recipients. The value of each voucher will depend on the services defined in theProviders’ capability statements, with estimated values of support services per recipient ranging from $50k to $250k.

Objective

Bridging the gap between innovation and adoption is a key challenge for the U.S. hydropower industry. WPTO through a previous scoping study has identified improving access to testing capabilities as one important step towards overcoming this challenge for a variety of hydropower technologies. The HyTN Voucher Opportunity (HyTN VO) is focused on supporting physical testing of hydropower technologies at facilities within the network. For the purposes of this voucher program, physical testing means hands-on experiments in a laboratory environment that involves hardware, such as a prototype, system, component, or coupon. Numerical modeling, simulation, and analytical activities are not within the voucher opportunity scope unless paired with physical testing.

Vouchers may provide support and expertise to test and validate hardware for technologies with Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) of minimum TRL 4 (Component and/or system validation in a laboratory environment) and maximum TRL 7 (Full-scale, similar or prototypical system demonstrated in relevant environment). Technology advancement activities should lead to reductions in cost, risk, or time or related improvements in performance, applicability, and durability.

The HyTN VO will occur in three phases:

  1. Testing Capability Selection – Test Facilities apply to join the network with one application per Capability.
  2. Technology Developer Selection and Matchmaking – Technology Developers apply to receive one testing capability per application and meritorious applicants are matched to Capabilities in the Network.
  3. Project Execution – Voucher pairs develop project agreements and complete testing activities, including four standardized milestones.

The first submission window solicits proposals from potential voucher providers. A second submission window will be open soon to solicit requests from potential voucher recipients. Pending availability of funds, additional submission windows may open in the future.

Voucher Providers (TestFacilities): U.S.-based national, federal, private,or university labs with one or more physical testing capabilities directlyrelevant to hydropower technologies. Facility categories of interest includebut are not limited to 1) hydraulic labs, 2) mechanical, material, and structurallabs, 3) electrical and electronics labs, and 4) biological and aquatic labs.

Note: Test facilities may be a part of a larger organization (e.g., national laboratory) with multiple facilities, but generally operate independently and with a significant level of autonomy.

Voucher Recipients(Technology Developers): U.S.-based for-profit companies, nonprofit research organizations, or academic institutions developing a hydropower technology. Technologies of interest include but are not limited to1) hydropower powertrain equipment, 2) structures, materials, and repair processes, 3) electrical, electronic, and cybersecurity devices, and 4)environmental mitigation technology.

Testing Capability (or Capability): the technical support service provided by a test facility to achieve a specific testing objective that advances the understanding or technology readiness of a hydropower innovation via physical testing in a laboratory environment. Capabilities are provided at a fixed cost, set by the voucher provider, and must be repeatable and time-bound with measurable deliverables and outcomes. Capabilities should include the lab spaces, equipment, procedures, staff (including expertise and labor), time, site access, and other resources to complete the testing objective. Capabilities must involve physical testing in a purpose-built laboratory environment. Capabilities may include modeling, simulation, analysis, or other software services if paired with an eligible physical testing service. The HyTN VO does not provide funds to establish new testing capabilities or significantly modify existing testing capabilities for the voucher provider. Example capability sub-categories are provided in the Downloadable Files section.

Voucher Projects:hydropower testing activities conducted by a selected voucher provider-recipient pair. Vouchers for testing services, worth between $50,000 and $250,000, will be distributed as in-kind support, meaning that ENERGYWERX will directly reimburse the voucher provider for the work they have completed on behalf of the voucher recipients. Only work related to physical testing of innovative hydropower technologies will be eligible to receive a voucher under this opportunity.

DOE anticipates issuing approximately8-20 vouchers.

Event Updates

How to Participate  

  • Attend the informationalWebinar/Objective Strategic Session on July 9, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET: Click Here to RSVP
  • Attend the Office Hours on July 31, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET: Click Here to RSVP
  • Download the Capabilities Overview: Click Here to Download
  • Complete the submission and upload here: Click Here to Submit for VO-6 (Submissions are due NLT August 8th, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET)

This is not the only voucher opportunity currently available through ENERGYWERX. See here for additional information related to other voucher opportunities.

Important Dates

Opportunity Announcement

The HyTN Voucher Opportunity for Phase 1 launched on June 26th, 2024. Please see the announcement article for more information.

Objective Strategic Session

InformationalWebinar/Objective Strategic Session (IW/OSS) [July 9th, 2024 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET]: DOE will present and summarize the details of the HyTN Voucher Opportunity. Potential voucher providers can better understand the scope, scale, and intent of the Voucher Program and ask questions of the DOE staff. Click Here to RSVP

Information "Office Hours" Session(s)

Informational Office Hours [July 31st, 2024 from 3:00 PM – 4:00PM ET]: DOE will host Office Hours to answer any remaining questions from potential applicants before the submission deadline. Click Here to RSVP

Submission Deadline(s)

Submissions for Voucher Providers are due No Later Than August 8th, 2024, 3:00 PM ET

Process Details

Timeline(s)

Phase 1 – Voucher Provider Capability Submissions Open [June 26, 2024 – August 8th, 2024]

  • Informational Webinar/ObjectiveStrategic Session (IW/OSS) [July 9, 2024 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET]: DOE will present and summarize the details of the HyTN Voucher Opportunity. Potential voucher providers can better understand the scope, scale, and intent of the VoucherProgram and ask questions of the DOE staff.
  • Office Hours [July 31, 2024 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET]: DOE will host Office Hours to answer any remaining questions from potential applicants before the submission deadline.
  • DOE Selection [August 8, 2024 - September 8, 2024]: DOE will review submissions based on the selection criteria and will notify selected entities for next steps. NOTE: DOE may choose to meet with applications or ask additional clarifying questions prior to selection.

Phase 2 – Voucher Recipient Applications and Matchmaking [Timing TBD – Fall 2024]: Hydropower technology developers will apply to receive testing services and meritorious applications will be matched to one of the capabilities approved during Phase 1.

Phase 3 – Project Execution [Timing TBD – Winter 2024/2025]: Matched provider-recipient pairs will establish project agreements with DOE or ENERGYWERX to define the scope of work, budget, timing, and outcomes. Projects will then have one calendar year to complete testing activities, including four standardized milestones.  

Project Milestones

All projects will be required to complete the following four milestones, including:

  • Milestone 1 – Memo submitted to the HyTN point of contact verifying that all requisite agreements (e.g., non-disclosure agreements, CRADA’s, site access paperwork) between the voucher provider and voucher recipients are completed. This document must be signed by both the voucher provider and recipient.
  • Milestone 2 – Test plan document submitted to the HyTN point of contact describing the scope and schedule for the planned testing activities.
  • Milestone 3 – Testing progress update presentation submitted to the HyTN point of contact containing a status description of testing activities and any relevant images. A virtual meeting may also be requested by HyTN program staff.
  • Milestone 4 – Submission of a ProjectSummary Report to the HyTN point of contact containing a summary of the project objectives, methods, results, discussion, and attachments with relevant data.

The voucher provider is responsible for timely submission of all milestones to the HyTN point of contact, but provider and recipient are expected to work collaboratively on project deliverables.

The schedule of milestones due dates will depend on the project and will be established in the relevant agreement between HyTN and the voucher provider. Milestones 1 and 2 must be completed before testing activities can begin. Milestone 3 should be completed approximately 50-75% through the project timeline, while testing is ongoing. Milestone 4 may not be scheduled more than one year after the start of the project, as such participants must complete project activities within one year of the agreement start date.

Resources from Webinar(s)

Coming soon.

Slide Deck(s)

Coming soon.

Transcript(s)

Coming soon.

Video Recording(s)

Coming soon.

Webinar Q&As

Coming soon.

Eligibility & Review Criteria

Eligible performers (voucher recipients and voucher providers) must meet the following criteria:

  1. Applicant qualifies as a domestic entity  
  2. Applicant must certify it is not owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of government of Country of Risk

To qualify as a domestic entity, the entity must be organized, chartered or incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a particular state or territory of the United States; have majority domestic ownership and control; and have a physical place of business in the United States. DOE defines Country of Risk to include China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. This list is subject to change. DOE retains the prerogative to require additional information from the applicants to verify the applicant meets the eligibility requirements.

All Facilities and their proposed capabilities must be reviewed prior to admission into the HyTN Network. Applications to join the Network are reviewed by WPTO subject matter experts according to the following criteria. Facilities must be part of the HyTN Network to be eligible to provide technical support to voucher recipients. Facilities are not admitted into the HyTN Network solely on the basis that other facilities within their organization are part of the network.Organizations may apply as both a voucher provider and voucher recipient but may not apply for voucher services from their own capability.

Please review the Program Rules document and the Intellectual Property Management Plan included in the DownloadableFiles for additional rules and considerations regarding project activities,NEPA, cost share, and intellectual property.

The following criteria will be used by DOE to review and select voucher provider applications to join the Network.

  • The proposed testing capabilities have direct relevance and benefit to cost-effective, scalable hydropower technologies that provide carbon-free, renewable energy.
  • The proposed testing capabilities represent physical testing that can lead to clear advancements in technology readiness.
  • The proposed facility is located in theUnited States and meets the eligibility requirements.
  • The proposed facility is purpose-built for testing, has the appropriate permits to operate, and can complete the requisite NEPA review.
  • The application is complete and indicates the necessary expertise, site access, equipment, and availability to conduct at least one testing activity a year if matched with an appropriate technology developer. 
  • The scope, cost, and duration of the proposed project activities are reasonable and within the intended purpose of the HyTN Program.

DOE retains the prerogative to require additional information from the applicants to verify the applicant meets the eligibility requirements and selection criteria. WPTO may disqualify an application for any reason, including but not limited to if the applicant engages with the HyTN Program in a manner that, in the sole discretion of the WPTO, is indecent, obscene, or lacking in professionalism. This includes but is not limited to the application itself or emails to the facilities or HyTN Program staff.

The selection process for voucher applications is competitive and subject to available funding. DOE retains the prerogative to decide whether to fund the proposed project entirely, partially, or not at all. Per WPTO’s discretion, applicants may be selected as an alternate to be awarded if funding becomes available. Awarding of the voucher is dependent on successfully establishing an agreement between the matched voucher provider and the voucher recipient.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

Download

What is considered a hydropower technology?

The program targets hydropower technologies as defined by WPTO’s hydropower program (seethe WPTO glossary),which can include a variety of powertrain, environmental, electrical, electronic, hydraulic, structural, materials, and mechanical technologies that support the production of hydropower. These technologies can be applied to existing hydropower systems, non-powered dam retrofits, new stream-reach developments, conduit hydropower, and pumped storage hydropower. Technologies do not have to be directly related to power generation, but must be an integrated part of hydropower operations, such as fish and water passage devices. Technologies that apply only to hydrokinetic and marine energy applications are not within the intended scope of the HyTN program as these technologies may be more applicable to the TEAMER program run by WPTO’s MarineEnergy program. Hydropower projects (in scope) capture the potential energy of flowing water over an elevation or pressure drop (referred to as hydraulic head), whereas hydrokinetic projects (out of scope) capture the kinetic energy of flowing water without a significant hydraulic head.

What are the roles of ENERGYWERX and the Department of Energy?

The HyTN program is directed by the Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) who is responsible for all selections and rule makings. Voucher Opportunities(VO’s) are conducted through a Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) with ENERGYWERX. PIA’s are “designed to increase outreach to and engagement with small business firms, institutes of higher education, and non-traditional partners.” PIA’s are an alternative to conventional financial assistance opportunities, like funding opportunity announcements (FOAs), and work through an intermediary to provide streamlined and flexible solicitations that are approachable to entities unfamiliar withDOE funding programs.

ENERGYWERX was selected as the Partnership Intermediary during for DOE’s PIA Pilot program, which started in 2023. ENERGYWERX is tasked with several pieces of the HyTN Voucher Opportunity, including management of the opportunity announcement webpage and application, engagement with applicants through webinars and office hours, and contracting of selected projects. ENERGYWERX acts as a neutral facilitator and resource for program participants.

Why is this called Voucher Opportunity-6 if this is the first round of applications?

In partnership with several DOE offices, ENERGYWERX has created a platform of voucher opportunities that support the commercialization of energy technologies and projects. The initial HyTN VoucherOpportunity is the sixth program to begin work with ENERGYWERX, so it is referred to as VO-6, even though it is the first iteration of the HyTN program.

How is matchmaking conducted?

In Phase 2, applicants are required to submit a prioritized list of pre-approvedCapabilities within the Network that they would like to work with. The list of Capabilities will be available on the HyTNWebsite. During selections, the meritorious applications will be initially matched to a voucher provider based on the strength of the application, the relevance of testing needs and capabilities, the availability of the facility (capability throughput), and the prioritized list provided by the recipient. Once initial matches are made, the voucher provider and voucher recipient will be contacted by HyTN Program staff to ensure a proper match and begin developing project agreements. If a match is not successful, WPTO has discretion to proceed to another facility on the prioritized list or discontinue the application.

What project agreements are needed?

The project agreements depend on the type of voucher provider on the project. The following table describes the possible avenues.

How and when will the voucher providers be funded/invoiced?

All projects must complete the requisite milestones to receive funding. The method and timing of funding depends on the project agreement and voucher provider type. If the voucher provider is a national laboratory, WPTO will disburse funding based on the conventional annual operating plan process. If the provider is a federal lab, WPTO will disburse funding based on the Interagency Agreement Process.

If the provider is a private or university lab with a research and development agreement with ENERGYWERX, the project will be funded on an invoice-basis. Each milestone must be completed and approved by WPTO prior to submitting an invoice. The projects will receive 25% of the project cost from each invoice, unless otherwise specified in the research and development agreement and approved by WPTO.

Are there cost share requirements?

DOE and ENERGYWERX do not require direct cost share from voucher providers or recipients. However, selected recipients are expected to fund their own travel, arrangements, materials, shipping, personnel, and any other miscellaneous costs to ensure successful completion of the proposed project activities. No funding is distributed to voucher recipients through the VO. Voucher providers, like national labs, may have cost share requirements as a part of project agreements, which can include tracking of in-kind contributions. Voucher recipients are expected to satisfy any requirements set within project agreements.

Questions

Questions?
If you have any questions, please contact ENERGYWERX:  info@energywerx.org

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