Fueling Aviation's Sustainable Transition (FAST) Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity Webinar

Fueling Aviation's Sustainable Transition (FAST) Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity Webinar

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Thank you everyone for joining  us today. I'm Arthur Orton,   I run the Technology and Operations  Division within the FAA’s Office   of Environment and Energy. And we've  been working with our sister division,   the Energy Division to launch this new program,  Fueling Aviation’s Sustainable Transition. We're really happy to talk about this program  here today. It really helps us address two of   the largest components of our US Aviation Climate  Action Plan: advancing sustainable aviation fuels,   and developing and deploying low emissions  aviation technology. So, we're going to use  

the meeting today to give you an overview  of the Notice of Funding Opportunity itself   (which we’ll refer to as the NOFO throughout the  discussion today), the application instructions   and requirements, and, most importantly,  answer any questions that you may have. So, I'm certainly not going to be doing  this alone. I wanted to introduce the   Program Office team who've been working  hard to help make this happen. First of all,  

I'll pass over to my colleague, Chris. Good afternoon, everyone. I’m Chris  Sorbian. I am also in the Technology   and Operations Division at FAA.  And I will pass it over to Anna.

Thanks, Chris. Good morning, good afternoon to  everyone attending. My name is Anna Oldani, I   work in the Office of Environment  and Energy in the Energy Division,   and I’ve been supporting many of the elements  in this program. Now I’ll pass it to Prem. Hi everyone, I’m Prem Lobo, the Acting  Manager of the Energy Division. Glad you   can all join us today for this webinar.  I'll pass it over to Fabio Grandi. Hello, everyone. I'm Fabio Grandi. I'm the  Acting Chief Scientist for Environment and   Energy. I would like to really thank you  all for joining us at the session today.  

This is a very important program to us. And  I really would like to thank the hard work   of the team so far. It did take a lot of  work to get to this point, and there will   be a lot more work to go forward.  But this is an important program,   so I really appreciate their efforts. And  I'll pass it on to Kristin Lewis from Volpe. Thanks, Fabio. Hi, everyone. Welcome. I'm  Kristin Lewis. I'm the Principal Technical  

Advisor in Energy Analysis and Sustainability at  the US DOT Volpe Center, and we're supporting FAA   in the FAST program execution. And I'll pass it  off to my colleague Peter. Thanks for joining. Hi, everyone. My name is Peter Herzig.  I work in the Energy Analysis and   Sustainability Division at US DOT Volpe, and  I'll pass it over to the FAA Grant Office.

Hello, everyone. My name is Brian Copeland.  I lead the Grants Management Branch within   the FAA Office of NextGen.  I'll pass it over to Monica. Hi, everyone. I'm Monica Butler.  I am the Grants Program Analyst/   Project Lead for FAA. Thank you for attending.

Great, thanks everyone. So, hopefully that  was helpful. You’ll have various members of   our team jumping in and out, answering  questions in the chat as we go along,   or hopping back on video to help  clarify things. So as I mentioned,   this presentation today is intended to give  you sort of an introductory overview of the   program and the elements of the NOFO. Just  a caveat upfront that the NOFO is always the   definitive document. We're trying to summarize  that and give you a nice overview. But aspects   of this are explained in much more detail, like  really definitive detail in the NOFO itself. As the moderator mentioned, please use the Q&A  feature throughout to pose questions. Even if  

you haven't asked a question, you can click  the thumbs up button by a question you like   to sort of upvote that and we're going to  try to prioritize answering some of those   questions that are of shared interest. So  we're gonna have about probably 30 to 40   minutes of presentation and have open  Q&A following that. We are prepared to   go as long as 3pm if there's continued  questions, so we'll do our best to get   to everyone. As always, you can always email  FAST-SAFTECH@faa.gov with questions as well. Just keep in mind, this is essentially a  public forum. So when posing your questions,  

keep that in mind. We encourage questions that  are relevant to all applicants. And at this point,   we can't give feedback on potential  project scopes or ideas or their merits. So with all of that out of the way, I think we'll  get into it. Next slide, please, Chris. Okay,   so we're gonna, our agenda is really laid  out to mirror the NOFO itself here. We'll  

talk about the different sections in order. The  Program Description, Federal Award Information,   Eligibility, Application and Submission,  Application Review, Federal Award Administration,   Other Information and then close out and  go into open Q&A. Next slide, please. So at a top level, this new program--Fueling  Aviation‘s Sustainable Transition ,or FAST--is   a discretionary grant program with legislative  authority from Section 40007 of the Inflation   Reduction Act of 2022. So that's sort of the  statute that spawned this. But most importantly,   it's going to make investments to accelerate  production and use of sustainable aviation fuels,   and the development of low emission aviation  technologies, and in the process support   the US aviation climate goal to reach net zero  greenhouse gas emissions from the sector by 2050. So there, the statute says that this program  shall carry out grants for projects located   in the United States in two sort of program  elements. The first is, we’re terming FAST-SAF,  

which focuses on projects that produce,  transport, blend, or store sustainable   aviation fuel. And the statute provides just  over $244 million for projects in this area. The second track, or element of the program we’re  calling FAST-Tech is for projects to develop,   demonstrate and apply low emission aviation  technologies. And there's just over $46   million allocated by the statute for that  side of the program. Next slide, please. Okay, so we're gonna go into each of these program  elements in a little bit more detail. So FAST-SAF  

is responding to that portion of this IRA Section  40007 language to carry out projects located in   the US that produce, transport, blend, or store  SAF. And the Act actually defines staff for us,   and we've implemented that definition  in the program. These are hydrocarbon   fuels that meet ASTM requirements for  jet fuel. So we're focusing on drop-in  

staff here meaning fuels that can operate in  today's aircraft engines and fuel systems,   today up to 50% Blend levels or whatever  is approved by ASTM in the future as well. These are fuels derived from biomass  waste streams, renewable energy,   gaseous carbon oxides and are not derived from  palm fatty acid distillate. So essentially,   a number of renewable sources, which informs  the most important element of the definition,   they must achieve at least 50% lifecycle emissions  reductions compared to petroleum jet fuel. So the   element, the objective of this element of the  program will be to accelerate production and use   of SAF supporting our climate goal, as outlined  in the US aviation Climate Action Plan of 2021,   which highlighted SAF as one of the most  important levers we have to reduce the   climate impact of aviation. And following that the  SAF Grand Challenge, which was a government-wide   announcement, a memorandum of understanding  between Department of Transportation, Energy and   US Department of Agriculture, that set ambitious  goals for domestic SAF production: 3 billion   gallons by 2030, and scaling up to 35 billion  gallons by 2050, essentially meeting the projected   demand for jet fuel from US aviation. So how do we  scale up that rapidly? Well, we need to accelerate  

the rollout of the infrastructure. And that's  where FAST-SAF plays a role. Next slide, please. So there are two types of FAST-SAF projects that  we've divided this into tiers. And as Chris will   talk about later, when you apply to the program,  we want to identify which tier you are applying   for. So Tier 1 grants are smaller grant awards  focused on regional supply chains that work to   identify the infrastructure and distribution  needs of key proponents. So basically, these  

are scoping studies and analyses to look at what  is the infrastructure that needs to be built to   make SAF work from a supply chain perspective and  work at scale, to grow at scale. The second tier,   Tier 2 grants, are larger grant awards, basically  for shovel-ready infrastructure projects,   where we'll actually be building infrastructure  to scale up fuel production, transportation,   blending and storage. So the relationship here  is if you're proposing for a Tier 1 project,   you know, you may be looking at a supply chain  or where your region of the country or your   company or your entity is a little bit earlier  on in the planning process and wants to do this   work to understand what that infrastructure  should look like. We are contemplating the  possibility of a second phase of  solicitation in about two years.   And scoping studies under Tier 1 could  support follow-on proposals for a Tier   2 grant in a subsequent phase if we go that  route. We'll talk a bit more about that later.

Applicants can also directly propose a Tier 2  project today without doing a Tier 1 project.   This is basically in the case that the supply  chain needs are already well understood,   the infrastructure needs are understood,  proposed work that goes straight to building that   infrastructure. So those are the two categories  at a top level for FAST-SAF. Next slide, please. Moving into FAST-Tech, so this is aligned with the  IRA Section 40007 direction to carry out projects   located in the US that develop, demonstrate or  apply low emission aviation technologies. So this  

is also defined by the Act. These are technologies  produced in the US that significantly improve   aircraft fuel efficiency, increase utilization of  SAF, or reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced   during the operation of civil aircraft. So the  objective from this element of the program is to   accelerate development and introduction of low  emission aviation technologies to contribute   to our climate goals to reduce carbon emissions  and greenhouse gas emissions as a whole. This is   also highlighted, the development of low emission  technologies are also highlighted within our US   Aviation Climate Action Plan as one of the most  important levers alongside SAF to influence the   future of aviation sustainability. Next slide, please. So paralleling FAST-SAF, there are two different  categories of projects for FAST-Tech. The first   category is designing, prototyping, and testing  of discrete or individual low emission aviation   technologies. A project in this area would be  focusing on a technology to reduce its technical  

risk and understand and prove out the emissions  reduction benefits of the technology itself. The   idea being that the research and development  matures the technology for future, relatively   near-term impact when we speak about 2050 as a  goal, impact on emissions from future engine and   aircraft designs. We do acknowledge when you work  on one individual technology, this may be limited   in an application to specific vehicle types or  company product lines. And that sort of inspired   us to create the second category. A Category 2  is about enhancing aircraft and engine technology   test and demonstration capabilities. The idea  being that enhancing these could accelerate   development and demonstration of a broad range  of low emission aviation technologies. So  

work under these projects would develop testing  facilities or assets to provide new test methods,   capabilities to test technologies that were  previously not testable or possibly had challenges   in understanding them, provide higher fidelity  data, and or data not otherwise attainable with   current facilities, methods or capabilities.  Longer term, we, you know, we see the impact   on emissions from this being a little bit longer  term, but still very large, you know, if you have   a test capability, then a number of technologies  could come through, use that capability and then   propagate into future engine and aircraft design.  So it's sort of one more layer removed from the   final product application, perhaps, but with the  ability to support technologies over a broad range   of vehicle types, and the impact could endure for  a long time period helping across the industry  and in the process, improve our understanding  of technologies and enable future benefits.

So those are the overview of sort of the  program at a high level, the objectives   and the project types. I'll now go into the  federal award information. So estimated funding,   as I mentioned upfront, this NOFO could  award up to the full 244.53 million for   FAST-SAF and 46.53 million for FAST-Tech. Our going in position here is to award   approximately half of the SAF funding  in this NOFO and all of the FAST-Tech   funding. Although we may elect to award  up to all of the funding from FAST-SAF.   That will really be dependent upon the  quantity and quality of proposals received. We want to make sure that we achieve our goals  in advancing SAF quickly but also want to make   sure that we are selecting projects with good  value to do that. So we're contemplating,  

if we did not award all the funds, doing  another second phase Notice of Funding   Opportunity within about two years, where  phase one participation or submission for   this NOFO would not necessarily be  a prerequisite for the second phase. In terms of award size, we  have been thinking about this,   and so these are sort of our notions  about what size these projects might   be from a financial standpoint,  but are certainly not firm limits. We're envisioning Tier 1 FAST-SAF projects, the  scoping studies in the 100 to $300,000 range. And   Tier 2 projects, building that infrastructure in  the 500,000 to $20 million range. For FAST-Tech,   a range from 500,000 to $10 million.  But these are not firm limits. We'll   be evaluating each proposal based upon its merits  and value, as Chris will talk about more later.

In terms of period of performance for projects  to be proposed, a minimum of one year and a   maximum of five years, especially because of  how the statute structured the availability of   the funding. The period of performance should be  proposed with approximately annual budget periods,   especially if proposing a larger project  such as Tier 2 FAST-SAF or any funding   requests greater than 2.5 million dollars.  So this sets up a structure where successful   performance of for example, year one, then  unlocks the second year of the project for   funding. We may elect to give partial awards and  select only a portion of a proposed activity or   potentially at a reduced funding level. And so  we encourage in your proposals to identify any  

partial or scaled funding options that you'd  wish to propose. And of course, conversely,   indicate if there are elements of a proposal  that are non-separable or that must be awarded   together because that's important in how we  consider the work proposed. Next slide, please. Eligibility. So the statute sets out  a broad list of eligible applicants,   including state and local governments, airports,  air carriers, academic and research institutions,   other aviation industry and nonprofits.  We further clarify this to explain that  

federally funded research and development  corporations (FFRDCs) and foreign entities   are eligible as long as they're meeting the other  project and cost sharing eligibility criteria. For teaming arrangements, one entity must be  designated as the prime recipient. In other words,   the FAA needs to know what entity they'll solely  enter into the grant agreement with, but teaming   is possible. You just need to structure your  proposal such that there is one prime recipient. In terms of cost sharing, the federal cost  share is by default 75% of the total project   costs. And in the case that the grant  awardee is a small or non-hub airport,  

that federal share of costs will go up to 90%. In terms of eligibility at a project level,   projects must meet the definitions in the NOFO  Section A. There's quite a lot of detail there,   but what I'm referring to at a high level  is that if you're proposing a project under   FAST-SAF that the SAF you're dealing with meets  the definition of SAF we just talked about,   and that your technology meets the  definition of low emissions technology. The projects must be located in the  United States per the Act and ready   to begin work by August 2024, with a period  of performance that completes the work within   a five-year maximum duration. There are other  eligibility elements and details in the NOFO,  

so I encourage you to review those  more closely as they might pertain   to your particular application  and project you have in mind. I'm now going to pass things over to Chris to  talk about the back half of the slides here. Thank you, Arthur. Yes, so we've reached Section  D of the NOFO, the Application and Submission   Information. Here I'll just walk through the  different components of what is required to be   in the application submission, starting with a  cover page. So the cover page should be signed  

by the prime recipient point of contact, as well  as the financial officer for the applicant. It   should list any team member organizations if  this is a teaming arrangement in the proposal. For each project within a proposal—a proposal may  contain multiple projects within it--but those   should be identified as either a FAST-SAF  Tier 1 project, FAST-SAF Tier 2 project,   a FAST-Tech Category 1 project, or a FAST-Tech  Category 2 project. And Arthur just described   what each of those designations mean.  And there's more information in the NOFO,   of course. And the cover page should also  include any statements regarding confidentiality,   noting that FAA may share application  information within the FAA or with   other federal agencies, if we determine that  that's relevant to the program's objectives,   and there's some more information  later on the presentation about   markings of confidentiality and expectations  regarding information in the application.

After the cover page, the first volume  of the submission is what we call the   technical and management proposal. And  that consists of the following content. So,   first is an organization chart for the project  team; a narrative describing the roles and   responsibilities of the key personnel as well  as any teaming or participating organizations;   projected activities to be undertaken during  the project, including which of those would   be covered by FAA funds, and which would be  covered by applicant cost share; a schedule   for the project that is divided into budget  periods, which is described earlier in the NOFO,   what we mean by budget periods, that shows the  activities that will be undertaken on a timeline;   any key or major potential risks to the success  of the project as well as mitigation strategies;   and then other items as appropriate. And  then the second element of this technical   proposal is a narrative that explains how  the proposed project activities address   the specific criteria that are outlined in  Section E of the NOFO as applicable for the   type of project proposed, whether it's a  SAF or technology project. So this volume,   those first six items are really the what,  how and by whom of the application. And then   the second element, this narrative explains how  the proposals address the evaluation criteria.

The second volume of the application is the cost  proposal, certifications, and declarations. And   here is where we request a number of standard  forms that are available on grants.gov. They're   also included in the grants.gov listing as  part of the application package. And for   those that aren't a standard form, we explain  what we're looking for for submission. The   SF 424 application for federal assistance is a  standard form that's in almost any federal grant   solicitation. Key Contacts form. The SF 424A,  budget information for non-construction programs,  

and 424C, budget information for construction  programs. So with these two forms, firstly,   if you're not a construction program, we would  ask you to submit just the 424A. But if your   project proposal does include construction, then  we would ask you to submit both the 424A form as   well as the 424C form to provide a little  more detail on those construction costs.

Then, the assurances forms 424 B and D for both  non-construction and construction programs,   whichever is applicable. And then, not a  standard form, but a key element of this   volume of the application, a budget narrative  that describes the line item costs in some detail.   It includes the budget allocation across  individual projects, and where applicable,   it indicates the budget period breakdown.  So really, the more information, detail  

and granularity that can be provided in that  budget narrative, the better for us to properly   evaluate your application. Then another standard  form, project performance site locations of each   team member. That's available on grants.gov as  well. And then lastly, an indirect cost agreement   if you have one in place, and if not, there are  details in the NOFO about what to do in that case. And then the last element of the application,  the last section is the addendum which describes   whether and how the project manager  and project team have the skill and   expertise needed to successfully execute the  project plan. Whether the applicant has prior   relevant experience that demonstrates their  ability to perform tasks that are similar in   risk and complexity to what's being proposed  in this application. Whether the applicant has   worked together with its teaming partners  in the past on prior projects. And lastly,  

whether the applicant has access to the necessary  equipment, facilities, and resources to accomplish   the effort, and if not, a clear explanation as  to how the applicant intends to obtain access   to the necessary equipment and facilities  in order to execute the proposed projects. Some other notes on the application submission.  First, all applicants must have a unique entity   identifier provided by sam.gov. There's  instructions in the NOFO on how to get that.   Note that the FAA will not reimburse pre-award  costs or costs associated with preparing the   application. This was mentioned earlier, I think,  but Important to note that applicants may be the   prime recipient on only one application.  So that means that an applicant can be on,  

can't… Well for one thing an application can  include multiple clearly identified discrete   projects. And additionally, an applicant may  collaborate on other applications as long as   they're the prime recipient on only one, not the  prime recipient on more than one application. And then most importantly, the applications are  due to grants.gov by end of day, Eastern Time,  

11:59pm eastern time November 27, 2023,  and late submissions will not be accepted. Okay, Section E gets into application review  information, really the evaluation criteria by   which we'll evaluate proposals. Starting with  technical criteria, and these are listed in   descending order of importance. Number one is the  capacity for the eligible entity to increase the   domestic production and deployment of SAF or  the use of low emission aviation technologies   amongst the US commercial aviation and aerospace  industry. Number two is the projected greenhouse  

gas emissions from such a project including  emissions associated with the development of the   project itself, and the potential the project has  to reduce or displace, on a lifecycle basis, US   GHG emissions associated with air travel. Number  three is applicable to SAF production projects   only. And here this is looking at the projected  lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions benefits from   the proposed project, which includes feedstock  and fuel production, and potential direct and   indirect GHG emissions, including resulting from  changes in land use. Number four is the capacity   to create new jobs and develop supply chain  partnerships within the United States. And number   five is the overall soundness of the technical  work plan described in the application itself. So just a note on these technical criteria,  the first four are directly from the Inflation   Reduction Act legislation, the statute, and  the fifth is an additional one. And there's  

an additional fifth criteria from the statute  that is reflected in a later stage of the review. Getting into those later, secondary stages  of review, the other selection factors. So   these overall are of lower importance relative  to the technical criteria. And they include  

first a Project Readiness Review, which has three  elements to it. One is an applicant qualification   assessment, which consists of assessing whether  the applicant and its team possess the necessary   experience, facilities, resources, etc. to support  the proposed award. This will really be captured   in the addendum in the applicant’s submission.  A financial completeness assessment. So this   is assessing the availability of matching  funds and whether the budget narrative,   the budget package presented is complete and of  a high degree of confidence. And then lastly,   an environmental review and permitting  assessment, which takes into account a   project’s environmental impacts and likelihood  of success in acquiring the necessary approvals   affecting project obligation, for  instance, National Environmental   Policy Act or NEPA considerations and  review requirements, permitting, etc.

Following this project, readiness review, there  will be a second level review, which takes into   account three factors. The first relates to  SAF projects only. And this one is from the   Inflation Reduction Act statute. This is ensuring  a diversity of feedstocks for SAF including use   of waste carbon oxides and direct air capture. So  this is looking to capture whether there are any   unique aspects related to the feedstock that can  enhance diversification, resilience, expansion   of the domestic SAF infrastructure and supply  infrastructure. Factor B is additional financial   support for the project. Here we are looking  to capture whether there are additional funds   or additional investment that can enhance the  overall value of FAA’S investment in the project,   potential investment in the project were it  awarded. And then lastly, Factor C is how  

the project will address Equity and Justice40  considerations. Equity and Justice40, these are   both administration and departmental priorities.  And the NOFO provides information on what   applications will be evaluated on in this area and  also some resources on web tools that can support   providing information within your application  to help us address and answer these questions. So this slide shows how the evaluation process  will play out, the review and selection process.  

Essentially, we begin with an initial eligibility  screening. Follow that with technical and project   readiness review, according to those criteria  just discussed. That will feed into a second level   review, which incorporates some of those higher  level factors. And then that informs a senior   level review within the government of the full  array of applications, which finally gets passed   into and informs the Secretary's final selection  of grant recipients. Throughout this process,  

the FAST program office may contact applicants  to discuss the submission or to request further   information to assist us in assessing and  evaluating proposals. But otherwise during   the selection process, discussions regarding  requirements or the competitive process are not   permitted between proposing organizations, the  sponsoring organization, ourselves, or others   within the FAA, or other government organizations  who may be involved in or have knowledge of the   application or evaluation process. So there's  somewhat of a limit on exactly what we can   discuss while this solicitation is open, while  we're reviewing and selecting projects for award. Section F, Federal Award Administration  Information, has some additional information   regarding eligibility notices. So proposals that  are termed to be ineligible will be returned to   the applicant with an explanation for why the  proposal was found to be ineligible. Proposals   that, in terms of awarding proposals, the FAA  FAST Grants Officer will be the one to notify   recipients or their designated POC of an award  and the signed grant award, when executed, that   is the authorizing document that enables the start  of any agreed upon activities. And then lastly,  

the Grants Officer will notify applicants that  have not been selected as promptly as possible. Section F also details some administrative and  national policy requirements that are a condition   for receiving federal financial assistance from  the Department of Transportation and from the   FAA. And these are detailed in the section.  They include local, state and federal laws   and directives, including national policies  identified in that SF 424B/D form, assurances   for construction and non-construction grant  programs. 2 CFR Part 200, uniform administrative  

requirements, cost principles and audit  requirements for federal awards is also applicable   here. And then within Section F.2, there's a  full list of these requirements that apply to,   that are a condition for receiving federal  financial assistance in the form of an award. Okay, in the case of being awarded a grant, we  have reporting expectations for the execution of   the program. Grant recipients, the project team  must maintain a close working relationship with   the FAST program office. In terms of reporting  requirements, we expect to require quarterly  

and annual reports, as well as participation in  semi-annual project reviews to review progress,   to advise on program direction, those sorts of  things. Additionally, at some point or within   the program, projects or the program may be  subject to a program evaluation undertaken   by the Department of Transportation or  another agency or partner. And lastly,   FAST-Tech projects will be required to share  data to support technology benefit modeling   and assessment, which, if anyone is familiar  with the FAA CLEEN, Continuous Lower Energy,   Emissions and Noise program, we envision that  somewhat similar to how it's done in that program. Okay, then lastly, some other information  noted in the NOFO. Regarding treatment of   application information. In general, this  data is only intended to be used by us for  

evaluation purposes, unless the information  within an application is already public. But if an application does need to include  proprietary information in order for an   applicant to communicate effectively any elements  of the project necessary for our evaluation,   then the applicant should use appropriate markings  within their application to indicate if there is   proprietary information, if that information  should not be shared outside of the evaluation,   etc. And that can be indicated on the cover  page of the submission. Intellectual property,   in terms of our intentions, we plan to  share details of the work as required to   advance our program goals within the broader  aerospace community. But we do not intend to   disclose proprietary design performance  information, there should not be a need   to do so in this program. But we can discuss  specific data rights with grantees as part of   the pre-award process if there are questions  or concerns about how that will be handled.

So in closing, the key date and instruction is  that applications are due electronically via   grants.gov by 11:59pm, eastern time on November  27, 2023. And for any questions, you can write to   our FAST email address, FAST-SAFTECH@faa.gov, and  we will answer those to the best of our ability. So with that, we will enter into our question and  answer portion of the discussion. There have been   many questions going on in the chat, some of  the answered verbally, or some have already   been answered via text. And we can go through  these one by one. Arthur, I'll pass back to you. Yeah, you've just finished presenting I can,  I just wanted to, I was looking at which,   a couple questions that were answered in text.  I just wanted to highlight a couple that were,   that got a lot of upvotes. One  was about whether the slides  

will be made available. Yes, we'll  be posting them to the FAST website. Let's see, there were a couple of questions about  particular project ideas and whether they're   eligible. We don't want to answer questions about  very specific ideas. But we've been trying to   direct people to the program definitions in the  NOFO itself. Section A.6 that give that detail.

One question around the terminology I used when  talking about FAST-Tech Category 1 projects being   discrete technologies, and I said with “near-term”  impact, and maybe Category 2 and test capabilities   having potentially longer term impacts. There's  no particular entry into service target date,   or technology readiness level associated with the  scope of FAST-Tech work. When I use those terms,   I was simply trying to compare that when you're  developing an individual technology, you usually   have a fairly direct path to application from  there, whereas the test capability would then   need to be utilized to develop a technology which  would then enter into service to reduce emissions.   So there is not a particular entry into service  target. But as the NOFO evaluation criteria   section outlines when we look at the greenhouse  gas emissions, we are trying to seek things that   are relevant to our net zero 2050 goal. That's  the most specific we get in terms of timeframe.

Okay, let's see. Have a look at some other  questions here, trying to look at the ones   that were most upvoted. Concerning the  firm November 27 submittal deadline,   is that deadline subject to change based on the  environment? And is the submittal deadline tied   to a firm anticipated response time from  the FAA? If so, what is the expected FAA   response time to the applicants? That date is,  at this point not planned to change. You know,  

there's a possibility that we would evaluate, you  know, extenuating circumstances if, for example,   if we had had a government shutdown, we would  contemplate the impact of that on the applicants’   abilities to develop proposals. But at this  point, that date is not planned to change.   And the shutdown scenario has been averted. So I  think we're sticking with the November 27th date. In terms of FAA is anticipated response time  to applicants, we'll plan to be reviewing   those applications as soon as they come in.  But there certainly are a large number of  

steps involved in reviewing, evaluating, making  recommendations and sending those up through the   approval chain. So I guess at a high level,  I'll just say, probably in the springtime,   is when we would be able to provide information,  at least on which, to applicants that we're moving   forward with. Awards themselves, though, would  be targeted more in the summer 2024 timeframe. Let's see. Chris, do you have others you  want to tag in and take for a moment? Sure, there's a question about what rights after  the project is completed does the government   have over the project and over the asset or  its products? Is it in perpetuity? As I sort   of mentioned at the end, questions about data  rights or about intellectual property, really,   it's not the intention of the FAA to preserve or  to own any IP. We want to communicate, we want   to share information to communicate the outcomes  of the program, and the benefits it's delivering,   etc. So, but in terms of specifics, in  terms of rights in data or otherwise,   these can be specified in the final grant  agreement that we would enter into with the   grant recipient, which can be discussed  pre-award. That grant agreement is known  

as a notice of terms and conditions, and  we expect to have some more detail there   about how that sort of information will  be handled. Thank you for the question. Okay, good. Let's see what else we have. Looks  like Anna’s typing an answer to that one. Can we clarify increased utilization of  sustainable aviation fuel and how that's   meant for FAST-Tech, e.g., evaluation of new and  novel candidate pathways. So, the language there  

came directly from the inflation Reduction Act  40007. Given that we are, the definition of SAF   in the act and in the NOFO itself is focused  on drop-in fuels that meet ASTM requirements,   we don't anticipate a large need for aircraft  technology to drive or increase utilization of SAF   where those SAFs are already drop-in. We typically  are focusing our SAF evaluation work under other   efforts, under our ASCENT research and development  work with academia or under the CLEEN program,   we do some testing and evaluation there. So  we are interested to your ideas if there are   technologies, aircraft technologies or aviation  technologies that could increase the utilization   of SAF. But as it stands, with this definition  of SAF being focused on drop-in SAF, there are   not particular technologies we have in mind as  needed to necessarily increase utilization of SAF. Chris, do you have another one you'd like to take? Sure, so a couple fairly easy ones here. So  for the volume one is the page limit 40 pages  

total for two sections or total 20. That is  a total of 40 pages, which could potentially   be increased. So total 40 Pages for those two  sections within volume one. And that could be   potentially more if there are multiple projects  within a proposal. So that answers that question. The next one, what does what does to begin  first of August for Tier 2 projects mean in   practice? I think essentially, this means  that that would be the start date of any   proposed project activities within the  grant proposal. So, as long as you have   defined what those activities are within the  Tier 2 projects in the form of a schedule,   that shows how your meeting the program  requirements, meeting the definition of   what is it here to project, that's all that is  meant by being able to begin first of August.  

So those projects aren't necessarily breaking  ground on August 1, 2024. But the beginning   of grant-funded activities would be ready by  that date. That is all that is meant there. Arthur, there's a question about projects  location in the US. That I think has been   come up a little bit that specific question  is “projects must be located in the US”,   in quotes, does that preclude  secondary support from global team   members of US-based applicants?  You have any thoughts on that? Yes, sure. I can take that one. That's one aspect  of eligibility. We've received some questions   around already and want to make sure we provide  some more clarity. We did include in the NOFO,  

basically aligning and leveraging the  Build America, Buy America language there,   where we’re trying to apply that which is  essentially that 55% or greater of the cost   of manufactured goods need to be coming from US  sources. However, how that applies to a project   in scope that is not entirely manufacturing,  we want to give improved clarity on that. And   we're actually discussing that with our legal team  now. And we'll make sure that that is addressed,   it’s one of our top priorities to be  addressed in the question and answer   that we’ll post to grants.gov listing here  to make sure that everyone gets a clear,   consistent answer. We just don't want to answer  that today with a partial answer or something  

that might change because we understand that  would have impact on folks’ applications. There’s a question here: will there be  opportunities to discuss proposals with   agency officials prior to submittal? If so,  will they be treated under ex parte rules? No,   we're not able to meet to discuss any particular  applications or ideas at this point. We're not   able to provide that to all applicants, and we  want to make sure that we're absolutely fair. So,   unfortunately, we won't be able to meet  to give feedback on any particular ideas. Who will be making the decision on awarding the  grants? So, Chris kind of outlined the overall   process here. There’s a number of stages  of evaluation, where scoring are given to   different criteria as outlined in the statute and  the supplemental criteria, we add. In the end,  

the final approval of the grant awards is left  to the Secretary of Transportation. So Pete,   Pete Buttigieg will be making the final decision,  based off of the recommendations of the senior   level review team, which is the highest  level of evaluation team in the process. Let's see. Does the 90-10 match also apply to  the FAST-Tech grant? We originally understood   it would not. So the cost sharing elements  apply universally to the whole program. So  

that federal cost share is 75% of the project  cost by default, for FAST-SAF and FAST-Tech.   But if the applicant or an awardee is a small  hub or non-hub airport, that would go to 90%.   So that applies, regardless of whether the  application is for FAST-SAF or FAST-Tech.

Chris, do you want to take a couple I need to  take a moment to read as we go here. Sure, let’s   see. Some questions are getting answered before I  even get a chance to answer them. Chris, I could   maybe take the question that is upvoted right  now on SAF. Yeah, please go ahead. Okay. Yeah,   so the question, I was gonna start typing but it  might be just easier for me to verbally answer.  

For a project proposed to produce a fuel need  to meet the definition of SAF or can it be a   lower carbon fuel, which meets spec but is  not such a statutorily defined as SAF. So,   for the purposes of this program, any project  proposals need to meet the definitions that are   contained within Section 40007. So that's  40007 of the definitions of SAF. There   are other sections of the Inflation  Reduction Act that have additional   definitions. But just as a reminder, how  we are evaluating proposals specifically   for the FAST program is going to follow  Section 40007. Thank you for the question. There's a question what is the expected selection  date and earliest latest date for grant awards? I   believe we noted that projects should be ready to  go starting August 1 2024. And, you know, our goal  

is to be making awards in time to meet that start  date. So towards middle of next year, summer of   2024, is what we're looking at for issuing this  round of grant awards. Thanks for the question. I can take the other one with the most upvotes  right now, which is will a draft or model grant   agreement be provided to applicants for review as  part of the applicant documents in advance of the   notice of awards? If so, will the model agreement  contain the applicable clauses to support advance   review by the submitting applicants? We  don't have any plans to release a draft   grant agreement but you know, we would get, at the  point where a project has been selected for award,   we would get into negotiation of  the individual terms at that point. There's another question here posing an example  to confirm understanding of the categories for   FAST-Tech. It sounds like Category 1 would be  for a new piece of technology, for example,  

a new inverter and Category 2 would be  a testing facility for the industry to   test new technologies, for example, facility  to test a broad range of industry inverters,   is that correct? Yep. That's the correct  interpretation, Category 1 being development   of a specific technology, Category 2 being a  test capability or facility that is enabling   testing of low emission technologies in a  way not previously possible. That's right. If the lead is an FFRDC, 75% Cost Share must be  covered by the team members. Is that correct? The   75% Cost Share federal cost share is actually  the FAA share of the grant in all these cases,   and that would not differ for an  FFRDC. The only condition in which   it increases to 90% provided by the FAA  is for a small hub or non-hub airport.

I can take this next one, Arthur. Can  you clarify the project team as defined   in the NOFO? Does this mean the airport  applicant if an airport is applying? Or   would this mean the consultant the airport  has selected to develop the work itself? So,   it could be could be either. So, an airport  sponsor could be the prime recipient of the   project team or an airport's consultant  could be the prime recipient as well,   that all depends on just how that team wants  to structure themselves. We can enter into a   grant agreement with either. And in terms of the  -- yeah, so I think that answers that question. The next question on the most upvoted list  was will the list of causes that will be   included in the grant be released? I  think I answered that with the other   question. We don't have any plans to  release a draft agreement at this time,   but we would negotiate those clauses and  terms upon selection of a grant for award.

Let’s see, since we can't accommodate  one on one meetings for clarifications,   is there a possibility for another group session  like this? Unfortunately, given the timeline,   I think this is our only NOFO Webinar we’ll  conduct, but we are happy to keep answering   questions via our email that Chris  showed on the prior slide actually,   and we will be making sure that questions that  we receive, that we only answer ones where the   question and the answer can essentially  be shared publicly because we want to   make sure that all applicants have the same  information when developing their applications. Let's see. Sorry. My question list was just  jumping around here. Chris, would you mind   taking the one regarding the Q&A from the  webinar and what we'll make available after? Yeah, sure. So I think rather than  post the entire webinar chat here,   for one thing, well, we are recording the webinar,   so we'll seek to make that available somewhere.  And then in terms of the Q&As, more than likely,   we would create a sort of FAQ that we can post on  our website attached to the grants.gov listing,   rather than list out every single question and  answer that was given here, especially since we're   not writing in an answer for every question that's  been asked. Thank you for that question, though.

Next one, are you able to elaborate on the  Justice40 initiative, CEJST tool? Do you   have any recommendations for how applicants  can best utilize the tool and include it in   their application? That is a good question. The  program office does not have direct experience   with these tools. But having looked at them  myself a little bit, there is a good amount   of documentation on the website of those tools.  And they're fairly intuitive in terms of how to  

apply them. But generally, we know it may  be a little bit difficult to try and answer   all of these requirements. But yeah, the  NOFO really does kind of show how we're,   what are the elements that we're looking to  evaluate applications on with respect to this   particular criteria. And we've just asked  applicants to, to the best of their ability,   try and address that in their application. Beyond  that, I think that those Justice40 tools are   not FAA hosted, but there should be sufficient  documentation material on those websites about   how to utilize them in support of these types  of applications. Thank you for the question. Okay, I can take a couple more here. One person  said, the teaming arrangement, any small business  

requirements? No, I mean, the list of eligible  applicants is broad. Could be large businesses,   small businesses, academic institutions, local  governments, and so on. There's no particular   carve out, pros or cons for small business  involvement. We just objectively look at, based   upon the evaluation criteria outlined sort of  the value and alignment with the program's goals. One more question: could public infrastructure  projects submitted by a local municipality,   water, sewer power extensions be included  in these grants. Local governments certainly   are eligible applicants, but I would look  carefully at the eligible project types to   make sure that what you are thinking aligns  with what is eligible under the program.

Question: to confirm, would  FAST-Tech fund the creation   of a demo aircraft equipped with  technology that reduces fuel? So,   I don't want to comment on a particular idea.  But development of a particular technology and   demonstration of low emissions technologies  is the focus of FAST-Tech. That's right. When does the FAA envision posting the  final update to the NOFO? As it stands,   the NOFO is currently final. What we  are planning to do is publish a Q&A   document that clarifies some  of these questions. There is,   perhaps some chance that an element of it would  be revised. But we're certainly trying to avoid   that because we want to make sure everyone  has the final stuff to work with right now.

There's a question here: Can an infrastructure  project for FAST-SAF be a pilot type effort?   Or does it have to be at a commercial scale?  Wondering if Anna or Prem would be available   to give an answer to that question? If not, I can  also. Yeah, I was gonna refer them to the sort of   overall program objectives and descriptions.  So I can point them to the right section that   really describes what we are trying to enable in  the FAST-SAF portion of this. Recognizing that,   we're aiming to not only meet the  statutory language in Section 40007,   but help us meet our SAF Grand Challenge goal  of 3 billion gallons of SAF by 2030. So that  

means prioritizing particular areas of SAF  infrastructure development, really focusing   on projects that can make readily available  significant volumes of SAF. So I will provide the   link to the right section in the NOFO. I know the  NOFO is a bit lengthy, so it might be hard to find   specific areas. But I can provide that information  and a response to that question. Thank you, Anna. Let's see, is the project readiness  review conducted at the primary or   secondary stage review? It  will happen in parallel with   the review of the technical criteria.  So in parallel, at the first stage. Do subcontractors have to be the  same or participate equally across   all projects in one application? That would  be entirely up to the applicant as to how   they bring in subcontracts to support  different elements of their proposal. There's a question, I can’t recall if this  was answered, will electric aircraft charging   stations be eligible for FAST-SAF funding? Again,  I think to that one, we just have to point you   to the NOFO. The types of projects that we’re  looking at, the criteria, the main objectives  

of the program, essentially, that should  have as much answer as we can share on that. There’s a question: does the 90% cost  share for a small or non-hub airport   only apply if the airport is the prime?  Or would it apply as long as the airport   is a member of the project? So from the  government's perspective, there's really   only one applicant for a grant and that is  the lead applicant. So that's what we would   be considering in terms of what category this  application falls into in terms of cost share. There was a question about FAST-Tech  for academia. Can the Co-PI be from   outside the United States such as Canada. So yes,   the answer is that foreign entities are eligible  to apply and can be a prime recipient. So,  

they would be eligible. Yep, as long as  they meet the other criteria, that's right. Let's see. Some good questions, some of them  are detailed. Just takes us a minute to read   and respond. While you guys are looking, there's a  question I'm going to be providing a typed answer.   But it's based on Category 1of FAST-SAF above, why  are you excluding SAF producers who are not large   existing oil and gas producers today? So just to  clarify, I think Category 1 and 2 are primarily   the FAST-Tech. I know, we provide other category  descriptions for FAST-SAF in terms of production,   transportation, blending and storage. But  I'll refer you to the eligible entities  

list that includes a broad range of eligible  entities. And so we are not excluding SAF staff   producers. I think the clarification might be  on what is eligible in terms of the pathways.   And so in order, again, to be eligible for this  program, the types of SAF we are focused on are   SAFs that meet existing annexes under ASTM D7566  or the co-processing pathways under ASTM D1655. Thank you, Anna. There's a question,  do applicants just need to address all  

criterion applicable to the grant they  apply for? Or actually meet criterion?   I guess I'm not sure if I fully understand  the question. So there are definitely certain   criteria that are only applicable to certain  types of projects. So, for instance, there's   one technical criterion that's only applicable to  FAST-SAF production projects. So yeah, generally,  

applicants should address all the criteria that  are relevant to their particular project in some   form. And I don't believe that there are any exact  thresholds that are defined in the criteria that   would necessitate meeting a criterion so. So  yeah, just generally in the application try   to show how each individual criterion would be  addressed in some part by the projects proposed. This one is sort of related to one you answered  earlier, Chris. What determines that a project   has started? Is it shovels in the ground,  engineering and required permits received,   etc. It's really the start of whatever  work scope that you have proposed and   your application begins on that date. We  understand that shovels in the ground may  

not be able to start in on day one. But as  long as your technical work plan makes sense,   and that that scope of work is ready to start  on that date, that that should be sufficient. There's a question here is providing both a TRL  technology readiness level and manufacturing   readiness level required for FAST-Tech projects,  or just one or the other. I believe in the NOFO,   we do ask for both a current TRL and  MRL and projected TRL and MRL. So,   to the extent that information can be provided,  please do provide that for each project. There's, I think the top upvoted one  regards fundamental research. Arthur,  

would you like to answer? Yeah, question is, per  section A.5.2, TRLs 1-2, fundamental research,   are viewed as out of scope for FAST-Tech  Category 1. Is this regardless of the projected   conclusion TRL. And if the conclusion  TRL is a 5+ and starting TRL is 1-2,   is that acceptable? What's the watermark point  used for this TRL assessment? That's a very good   point. Our intent was to make sure that the end  results of the project are at a level of maturity   that they can be relevant to applications not  extremely far in the future. So I think that's   something we'll definitely clarify in the Q&A.  But the answer is, we want to make sure that they  

do not end at TRL 1 or 2. But I think if they  start in that range, and you can advance them   well beyond that, that is an accomplishment  and something we would consider in scope. Anna, I think you had one you wanted to jump  in on? Yep. So I can take the next one that's   upvoted. So it's referenced in the statement  of purposes of the FAST program. Aviation   technology and aviation fuel be manufactured in  the United States and the cost of the components   of manufactured products that are mined, produced  or manufactured in the United States is greater   than 55% of the total cost of all components of  the manufactured product. Glad that, this is the   language and this is just how it's written. It's  not always very clear. And all the questions just  

jumped. So that question was whether that pertains  to the fuels. So just for clarification, that is   applied to the costs of the project itself that  are part of the proposal, when we're talking about   costs of operating, for example, a production  facility, and the feedstocks that would be used   to produce the fuel, again, assuming that that  is not part of the project budget, but rather,   the project budget should be focused on the costs  of just the project itself and not the operations   of that project. So hopefully, that clarifies  where that that language applies for SAF projects. Anna, do you want to take this, this other  question? Could you confirm Tier 1 FAST-SAF   is for scoping studies, and Tier 2 is for  actual infrastructure, regardless of size   of infrastructure? Yes, that is correct. So the question, is FAST-Tech looking mainly   at drop-in soft fuel solutions evaluation, or new  propulsion systems development/testing. Again, not   to comment too much on the specific proposal. But,  FAST-Tech is open, the objectives of FAST-Tech are   to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and or increase  fuel efficiency and or increase utilization of   SAF. So by those program objectives, both of  those types of solutions would be eligible.

I saw a question with a follow up as well, what  role do you see airports playing as a lead or a   partner? We don't have any sort of preconceived  notion or preference for an airport to be involved   or not. It's all what makes sense for the  particular proposal. So, a teamed approach   or an individual approach makes no difference  to us. It's all on how the proposal stacks up   in terms of the evaluation criteria and alignment  with the program as a whole. Certainly, airports   are where the fuel is used in FAST-SAF, so when  you're talking about supply chain, they're an   important element of that.But no further comment  on that, I guess. No particular preference there.

Let's see. Questions are moving around on  me as we go here. Sorry. I can take one,   there’s one about what is considered appropriate  markings for flagging proprietary information.   Other agencies use double brackets, i

2023-10-17 09:29

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