Notice of Request for Information (RFI) on Water Security Grand Challenge Resource Recovery Prize, 49719-49721 [2019-20541]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 184 / Monday, September 23, 2019 / Notices Dated: September 17, 2019. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary. found in the RFI document posted on EERE Exchange. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [FR Doc. 2019–20518 Filed 9–20–19; 8:45 am] Background The DOE-led Water Security Grand Challenge (‘‘the Challenge’’) aims to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water using a coordinated suite of prizes, competitions, early-stage research and development, and other programs.1 The Challenge consists of five goals; this RFI focuses on the goal of doubling resource recovery from municipal wastewater treatment plants by 2030. Wastewater treatment plants purchase about $2 billion of electricity each year and face more than $200 billion in future capital investment needs to meet water quality objectives.2 These expenses can stress municipal budgets. For example, energy consumption at wastewater treatment plants can account for a third or more of municipal energy bills.3 Energy costs are expected to increase over time 4 and affect affordability of water for businesses and consumers.5 Disposal of residual biosolids from water treatment is another significant cost for municipalities. Wastewater treatment plants can address these challenges by recovering resources and turning them into marketable products. This can create new revenue streams for upgrading water treatment infrastructure, particularly in rural communities, reduce nutrient pollution, and provide new sources of alternative water supplies. Recoverable resources include energy that can be used on-site or sold; nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen that can be used as fertilizer; and clean water that can be reused for agricultural, industrial, and BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Notice of Request for Information (RFI) on Water Security Grand Challenge Resource Recovery Prize Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy (DOE). ACTION: Request for information (RFI). AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invites public comment providing information and feedback on the design of a potential prize competition with a goal of increasing resource recovery from municipal wastewater treatment plants across the United States, and in so doing, lower the ultimate cost of treatment by extracting additional value from the wastewater (i.e., improve energy efficiency). Through this potential prize, DOE would seek novel, systems-based solutions from multidisciplinary teams to implement resource recovery at small-to-medium-sized wastewater treatment plants. Specifically, the intent is to encourage teams of wastewater treatment plants, engineering and design firms, technology developers, resource customers (e.g., farmers, electric and gas utilities), and others to develop holistic community and/or watershed-based resource recovery plans for their respective wastewater treatment systems. Input from this RFI may be used to further develop the competition objectives, rules, metrics, and incentives. DATES: Responses to the RFI must be received by October 23, 2019, no later than 5:00 p.m. (ET). ADDRESSES: Interested parties are to submit comments electronically to WaterResourceRecoveryPrize@ ee.doe.gov. Include Water Security Grand Challenge Resource Recovery Prize in the subject of the title. The complete RFI document is located at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Question may be addressed to John Smegal, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585– 0121. Telephone: 202–586–2222. Email: WaterResourceRecoveryPrize@ ee.doe.gov. Further instruction can be jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:55 Sep 20, 2019 Jkt 247001 1 https://www.energy.gov/eere/water-securitygrand-challenge. 2 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Clean Watersheds Needs Survey 2012, Report to Congress. January 2016. https://www.epa.gov/sites/ production/files/2015-12/documents/cwns_2012_ report_to_congress-508-opt.pdf. Electricity dollar value derived from electricity consumption estimates contained in Arzbaecher, C., K. Parmenter, R. Ehrhard, and J. Murphy. 2013. Electricity Use and Management in the Municipal Water Supply and Wastewater Industries. Palo Alto, CA: Electric Power Research Institute and Water Research Foundation. http://www.waterrf.org/ PublicReportLibrary/4454.pdf. 3 EPA, Water and Energy Efficiency at Utilities and in the Home, https://www.epa.gov/sustainablewater-infrastructure/water-and-energy-efficiencyutilities-and-home. 4 Arzbaecher, et al. 5 DOE. Water and Wastewater Annual Price Escalation Rates for Selected Cities across the United States. September 2017. https:// www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/10/f38/ water_wastewater_escalation_rate_study.pdf. PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 49719 potable purposes. When the value of the recovered resources more than offsets the cost of recovery, the overall cost of wastewater treatment is reduced. In addition, resource recovery contributes to system-level energy efficiency because recovering energy from wastewater reduces the amount of grid electricity required to operate the wastewater treatment plant. Moreover, recovered water (treated wastewater) can offer a substitute for water sources with a higher level of embedded energy (including desalinated water and water that is conveyed over a long distance) for industrial, agricultural, and municipal use. Recovered nutrients (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus) can be a less energy-intensive substitute for fertilizer on agricultural land. To make progress on the goal of doubling resource recovery from municipal wastewater facilities, DOE is considering a potential prize competition that seeks to increase resource recovery from municipal wastewater treatment plants across the United States. This prize is intended to target small-to-medium-sized wastewater treatment plants (e.g., facilities with flows on the order of up to 50 million gallons per day), as larger facilities are more likely to be already engaged in or developing resource recovery strategies. The envisioned outcome of this prize competition is the development of novel, system-wide solutions that leverage existing resource recovery technologies to improve resource recovery in these small-tomedium-sized facilities and also contribute to energy efficiency at the facility and/or system level. Competition participants are expected to be multi-disciplinary teams of stakeholders that will develop holistic, community- or watershed-based resource recovery plans. Teams are likely to be comprised of wastewater treatment plants, engineering and design firms, technology developers, resource customers (such as farmers, electric and gas utilities), and others. As currently envisioned, the prize would consist of two phases. In the first phase, teams would submit a high-level facility schematic and business plan that demonstrates the cost-effectiveness and viability of their resource recovery plan.6 Successful plans would demonstrate how the approach reaches threshold levels on certain resource recovery metrics, while contributing to energy efficiency at the facility and/or 6 Provisions for safe guarding sensitive or proprietary information submitted in response to the prize competition will be detailed within the rules and procedures for the prize to be published subsequent to this RFI. E:\FR\FM\23SEN1.SGM 23SEN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 49720 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 184 / Monday, September 23, 2019 / Notices system level as discussed further below. Plans meeting this threshold would then be judged on their innovation and replicability. At the end of phase one, DOE anticipates selecting multiple teams for relatively small awards (e.g., 10 selections receiving $50,000 each). DOE may also publish selected teams’ plans on a DOE website. DOE expects to provide teams about six months from prize announcement until phase one applications are due. Teams selected at the end of phase one would have the opportunity to progress into the second phase of the competition. Phase two of the competition would require the submission of detailed and technically rigorous plans that demonstrate how teams would finance and construct their resource recovery solutions, with such plans supported by quantitative analysis and/or modelling. In phase two, successful plans would be judged by modeled achievement of resource recovery metrics as well as by contributions to energy efficiency, financial viability, technical and engineering rigor, and the broad replicability of the plan. At the end of phase two, a smaller number of teams would be selected for higher-dollar prizes (e.g., two selections receiving $250,000 each). DOE expects to provide teams about a year from phase one selection to submit final phase two materials. As part of the financial viability aspect of phase two, DOE anticipates aligning phase two submission requirements with the application requirements of public financing programs (e.g., from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and Clean Water State Revolving Fund, among others), enabling participants to be well-positioned for applying for these funding sources. Quantitative metrics would play a critical role in the judging process of both phases of the competition. DOE envisions applicants will need to meet a minimum threshold of resource recovery for one or more resources (i.e., energy, clean water, and/or nutrients). This threshold could be expressed as a recovery rate (i.e., the percent of resource recovered relative to the total amount of that resource present in influent) or as an improvement rate (i.e., an increase in recovery rate over some baseline). Additional metrics or guidance would be developed to assess submissions on other criteria beyond these thresholds, including energy efficiency, innovation, replicability, and technical and engineering rigor. In VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:55 Sep 20, 2019 Jkt 247001 phase two, financial metrics will also be used for judging, which may include levelized cost of avoided disposal, net present value of recovery streams, lifecycle costs of recovery, or others. To ensure diverse solutions applicable across a range of facility types, DOE may also introduce other factors to judging, such as geographic diversity of applicants, facility size, category of resources recovered, and treatment technologies used. Request for Information Categories and Questions Category 1: Overall Prize Concept and Objectives 1. Can a prize-based approach contribute to achieving the goal of increasing resource recovery across small-to-medium-sized wastewater treatment plants? If so, what aspects of a prize in particular can help achieve this goal? If not, what other approaches could be considered? Are there other complementary activities that can be pursued to increase the impact of the prize? 2. Are there other, similar initiatives that could help inform this prize? 3. One of DOE’s primary objectives with a prize is to stimulate the development of multi-stakeholder, systems-based solutions. Please share any examples of these types of solutions you have observed as well as what you believe advanced these solutions. Conversely, what barriers exist to the development and execution of these types of collaborative integrative solutions? 4. What resource recovery technologies do you believe are most promising in the context of this prize, and what challenges exist in integrating these technologies into wastewater treatment plants? Are there promising systems configurations that incorporate multiple technologies? 5. What state and local policies are effective at enabling the acceleration of resource recovery at wastewater facilities? Conversely, what regulatory and policy barriers prevent acceleration of resource recovery? 6. What barriers prevent potential resource customers from purchasing and using resources from local wastewater treatment plants? 7. What stakeholders are important to engage as partners or competitors? Category 2: Prize Design 1. Is the proposed two-phase prize concept the most effective way of ensuring actionable ideas emerge from broad stakeholder teams? Is the proposed timeline (i.e., about six PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 months for phase one and a year for phase two) sufficient to ensure DOE receives thoughtful, well-crafted application materials? 2. Does the lack of a demonstration phase in the current proposed prize design limit the effectiveness of the approach? How could the design of the prize competition be enhanced so that participants are best-positioned to implement their proposed solutions after the competition is over? 3. Are the proposed incentive levels (i.e., $50,000 for teams selected in phase one; $250,000 for teams selected in phase two) sufficient to incent participation? 4. Is 50 million gallons/day an appropriate cutoff for competitor facility size? 5. How can the prize competition be structured such that the lessons learned from the projects that are selected through the competition are generalizable and useful to other wastewater treatment plants and communities? How can the prize be designed to generate replicable outcomes? 6. A key objective of the prize is to position participants to successfully apply for financing from other public agencies. Does aligning phase two application requirements with the common application requirements from such programs help to achieve this goal? Are there other ways of achieving this? What financing programs are important to consider? 7. Please share any other perspectives on details of the prize design. Category 3: Criteria and Metrics 1. As currently envisioned, the prize targets the recovery of energy, clean water, and nutrients. Are there other resources that are being recovered or could be recovered from municipal wastewater that should be included in this prize? 2. Within the categories of recoverable resources proposed for inclusion in the prize, are there industry-standard quantitative metrics that measure the level of resource recovery? 3. As discussed above, DOE may require applicants to demonstrate how the proposed plan reaches threshold levels on resource recovery metrics. For these ‘‘threshold levels,’’ is a fixed recovery rate or improvement rate more appropriate as a threshold to measure resource recovery for small-to-mediumsized wastewater treatment plants? 4. What are ambitious but achievable targets for the metrics identified in questions two and three in this section at an individual plant level, i.e., what are the ‘‘threshold levels’’ that E:\FR\FM\23SEN1.SGM 23SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 184 / Monday, September 23, 2019 / Notices applicants should need to achieve at a minimum to be considered for selection? 5. What are ambitious but achievable targets for plant-level and/or systemlevel energy efficiency improvements for recovery of clean water, nutrients and other resources? 6. What metrics are appropriate to assess the financial viability of a submission as part of phase two judging? 7. How should DOE assess the innovativeness of prize applications? jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Request for Information Response Guidelines Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to WaterResourceRecoveryPrize@ ee.doe.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. (ET) on October 23, 2019. Responses must be provided as attachments to an email. It is recommended that attachments with file sizes exceeding 25MB be compressed (i.e., zipped) to ensure message delivery. Responses must be provided as a Microsoft Word (.docx) attachment to the email, and no more than 20 pages in length, 12 point font, 1 inch margins. Only electronic responses will be accepted. Please identify your answers by responding to a specific question or topic if applicable. Respondents may answer as many or as few questions as they wish. EERE will not respond to individual submissions or publish publicly a compendium of responses. A response to this RFI will not be viewed as a binding commitment to develop or pursue the project or ideas discussed. This is solely a request for information and not an announcement for a prize competition. EERE is not accepting applications or submissions for a potential prize competition. If EERE pursues the potential prize competition, it would be announced through a separate solicitation. Respondents are requested to provide the following information at the start of their response to this RFI: • Company/institution name; • Company/institution contact; • Contact’s address, phone number, and email address. Confidential Business Information Pursuant to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that he or she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via email two well marked copies: One copy of the document marked ‘‘confidential’’ including all the information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:55 Sep 20, 2019 Jkt 247001 49721 document marked ‘‘non-confidential’’ with the information believed to be confidential deleted. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential status of the information and treat it according to its determination. Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat submitted information as confidential include: (1) A description of the items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the information has previously been made available to others without obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the competitive injury to the submitting person that would result from public disclosure; (6) when such information might lose its confidential character due to the passage of time; and (7) why disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest. Correction In the Federal Register of September 17, 2019, in FR Doc. 2019–20114, on page 48921, please make the following correction: In that notice under Tentative Agenda, third column, first paragraph, the presentation topic has been changed. The original presentation topic was Processing of Uranium 233 Materials. The new presentation topic is Groundwater Update. Signed in Washington, DC, on August 30, 2019. Valri Lightner, Deputy Director, Advanced Manufacturing Office. Pumped Hydro Storage, LLC; Notice of Preliminary Permit Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Competing Applications [FR Doc. 2019–20541 Filed 9–20–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management SiteSpecific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge; Meeting; Correction Office of Environmental Management, Department of Energy. AGENCY: Notice of open meeting: correction. ACTION: On September 17, 2019, the Department of Energy published a notice of open meeting announcing a meeting on October 9, 2019, of the Environmental Management SiteSpecific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge. This document makes a correction to that notice. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melyssa P. Noe, Alternate Deputy Designated Federal Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM), P.O. Box 2001, EM–942, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Phone (865) 241–3315; Fax (865) 241–6932; Email: Melyssa.Noe@ orem.doe.gov. Or visit the website at https://energy.gov/orem/services/ community-engagement/oak-ridge-sitespecific-advisory-board. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Signed in Washington, DC, on September 18, 2019. LaTanya Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. 2019–20470 Filed 9–20–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 14992–000] On May 8, 2019, Pumped Hydro Storage, LLC, filed an application for a preliminary permit, pursuant to section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act (FPA), proposing to study the feasibility of a pumped storage project in Coconino County, Arizona. On August 1, 2019, the applicant filed a revised application for the project to address Commission staff’s June 19, 2019 comments. The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the permit term. A preliminary permit does not authorize the permit holder to perform any land-disturbing activities or otherwise enter upon lands or waters owned by others without the owners’ express permission. The proposed Navajo Nation Salt Trail Canyon Pumped Storage Project would consist of the following: (1) A new 240-foot-high, 500-foot-long upper dam and reservoir; (2) a new 140-foothigh, 1,000-foot-long lower dam and reservoir; (3) six 250- megawatt, turbinegenerator units, for a total installed capacity of 1,500 megawatts; (4) a new 20-mile-long, 500-kilovolt transmission line from the powerhouse to the existing Moenkopi switchyard; and (5) appurtenant facilities. The proposed project would have an average annual generation of 3,300 gigawatt-hours. Applicant Contact: Steve Irwin, Pumped Hydro Storage, LLC, 6514 S E:\FR\FM\23SEN1.SGM 23SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 184 (Monday, September 23, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 49719-49721]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-20541]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Notice of Request for Information (RFI) on Water Security Grand 
Challenge Resource Recovery Prize

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of 
Energy (DOE).

ACTION: Request for information (RFI).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invites public comment 
providing information and feedback on the design of a potential prize 
competition with a goal of increasing resource recovery from municipal 
wastewater treatment plants across the United States, and in so doing, 
lower the ultimate cost of treatment by extracting additional value 
from the wastewater (i.e., improve energy efficiency). Through this 
potential prize, DOE would seek novel, systems-based solutions from 
multidisciplinary teams to implement resource recovery at small-to-
medium-sized wastewater treatment plants. Specifically, the intent is 
to encourage teams of wastewater treatment plants, engineering and 
design firms, technology developers, resource customers (e.g., farmers, 
electric and gas utilities), and others to develop holistic community 
and/or watershed-based resource recovery plans for their respective 
wastewater treatment systems. Input from this RFI may be used to 
further develop the competition objectives, rules, metrics, and 
incentives.

DATES: Responses to the RFI must be received by October 23, 2019, no 
later than 5:00 p.m. (ET).

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are to submit comments electronically to 
[email protected]. Include Water Security Grand 
Challenge Resource Recovery Prize in the subject of the title. The 
complete RFI document is located at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Question may be addressed to John 
Smegal, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585-
0121. Telephone: 202-586-2222. Email: 
[email protected]. Further instruction can be found 
in the RFI document posted on EERE Exchange.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The DOE-led Water Security Grand Challenge (``the Challenge'') aims 
to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the 
global need for safe, secure, and affordable water using a coordinated 
suite of prizes, competitions, early-stage research and development, 
and other programs.\1\ The Challenge consists of five goals; this RFI 
focuses on the goal of doubling resource recovery from municipal 
wastewater treatment plants by 2030.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ https://www.energy.gov/eere/water-security-grand-challenge.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wastewater treatment plants purchase about $2 billion of 
electricity each year and face more than $200 billion in future capital 
investment needs to meet water quality objectives.\2\ These expenses 
can stress municipal budgets. For example, energy consumption at 
wastewater treatment plants can account for a third or more of 
municipal energy bills.\3\ Energy costs are expected to increase over 
time \4\ and affect affordability of water for businesses and 
consumers.\5\ Disposal of residual biosolids from water treatment is 
another significant cost for municipalities. Wastewater treatment 
plants can address these challenges by recovering resources and turning 
them into marketable products. This can create new revenue streams for 
upgrading water treatment infrastructure, particularly in rural 
communities, reduce nutrient pollution, and provide new sources of 
alternative water supplies. Recoverable resources include energy that 
can be used on-site or sold; nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen 
that can be used as fertilizer; and clean water that can be reused for 
agricultural, industrial, and potable purposes. When the value of the 
recovered resources more than offsets the cost of recovery, the overall 
cost of wastewater treatment is reduced. In addition, resource recovery 
contributes to system-level energy efficiency because recovering energy 
from wastewater reduces the amount of grid electricity required to 
operate the wastewater treatment plant. Moreover, recovered water 
(treated wastewater) can offer a substitute for water sources with a 
higher level of embedded energy (including desalinated water and water 
that is conveyed over a long distance) for industrial, agricultural, 
and municipal use. Recovered nutrients (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus) can 
be a less energy-intensive substitute for fertilizer on agricultural 
land.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Clean Watersheds 
Needs Survey 2012, Report to Congress. January 2016. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-12/documents/cwns_2012_report_to_congress-508-opt.pdf. Electricity dollar value 
derived from electricity consumption estimates contained in 
Arzbaecher, C., K. Parmenter, R. Ehrhard, and J. Murphy. 2013. 
Electricity Use and Management in the Municipal Water Supply and 
Wastewater Industries. Palo Alto, CA: Electric Power Research 
Institute and Water Research Foundation. http://www.waterrf.org/PublicReportLibrary/4454.pdf.
    \3\ EPA, Water and Energy Efficiency at Utilities and in the 
Home, https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-water-infrastructure/water-and-energy-efficiency-utilities-and-home.
    \4\ Arzbaecher, et al.
    \5\ DOE. Water and Wastewater Annual Price Escalation Rates for 
Selected Cities across the United States. September 2017. https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/10/f38/water_wastewater_escalation_rate_study.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To make progress on the goal of doubling resource recovery from 
municipal wastewater facilities, DOE is considering a potential prize 
competition that seeks to increase resource recovery from municipal 
wastewater treatment plants across the United States. This prize is 
intended to target small-to-medium-sized wastewater treatment plants 
(e.g., facilities with flows on the order of up to 50 million gallons 
per day), as larger facilities are more likely to be already engaged in 
or developing resource recovery strategies. The envisioned outcome of 
this prize competition is the development of novel, system-wide 
solutions that leverage existing resource recovery technologies to 
improve resource recovery in these small-to-medium-sized facilities and 
also contribute to energy efficiency at the facility and/or system 
level.
    Competition participants are expected to be multi-disciplinary 
teams of stakeholders that will develop holistic, community- or 
watershed-based resource recovery plans. Teams are likely to be 
comprised of wastewater treatment plants, engineering and design firms, 
technology developers, resource customers (such as farmers, electric 
and gas utilities), and others.
    As currently envisioned, the prize would consist of two phases. In 
the first phase, teams would submit a high-level facility schematic and 
business plan that demonstrates the cost-effectiveness and viability of 
their resource recovery plan.\6\ Successful plans would demonstrate how 
the approach reaches threshold levels on certain resource recovery 
metrics, while contributing to energy efficiency at the facility and/or

[[Page 49720]]

system level as discussed further below. Plans meeting this threshold 
would then be judged on their innovation and replicability. At the end 
of phase one, DOE anticipates selecting multiple teams for relatively 
small awards (e.g., 10 selections receiving $50,000 each). DOE may also 
publish selected teams' plans on a DOE website. DOE expects to provide 
teams about six months from prize announcement until phase one 
applications are due.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Provisions for safe guarding sensitive or proprietary 
information submitted in response to the prize competition will be 
detailed within the rules and procedures for the prize to be 
published subsequent to this RFI.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Teams selected at the end of phase one would have the opportunity 
to progress into the second phase of the competition. Phase two of the 
competition would require the submission of detailed and technically 
rigorous plans that demonstrate how teams would finance and construct 
their resource recovery solutions, with such plans supported by 
quantitative analysis and/or modelling. In phase two, successful plans 
would be judged by modeled achievement of resource recovery metrics as 
well as by contributions to energy efficiency, financial viability, 
technical and engineering rigor, and the broad replicability of the 
plan. At the end of phase two, a smaller number of teams would be 
selected for higher-dollar prizes (e.g., two selections receiving 
$250,000 each). DOE expects to provide teams about a year from phase 
one selection to submit final phase two materials.
    As part of the financial viability aspect of phase two, DOE 
anticipates aligning phase two submission requirements with the 
application requirements of public financing programs (e.g., from the 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Water Infrastructure Finance and 
Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and Clean Water State Revolving Fund, 
among others), enabling participants to be well-positioned for applying 
for these funding sources.
    Quantitative metrics would play a critical role in the judging 
process of both phases of the competition. DOE envisions applicants 
will need to meet a minimum threshold of resource recovery for one or 
more resources (i.e., energy, clean water, and/or nutrients). This 
threshold could be expressed as a recovery rate (i.e., the percent of 
resource recovered relative to the total amount of that resource 
present in influent) or as an improvement rate (i.e., an increase in 
recovery rate over some baseline). Additional metrics or guidance would 
be developed to assess submissions on other criteria beyond these 
thresholds, including energy efficiency, innovation, replicability, and 
technical and engineering rigor. In phase two, financial metrics will 
also be used for judging, which may include levelized cost of avoided 
disposal, net present value of recovery streams, lifecycle costs of 
recovery, or others. To ensure diverse solutions applicable across a 
range of facility types, DOE may also introduce other factors to 
judging, such as geographic diversity of applicants, facility size, 
category of resources recovered, and treatment technologies used.

Request for Information Categories and Questions

Category 1: Overall Prize Concept and Objectives

    1. Can a prize-based approach contribute to achieving the goal of 
increasing resource recovery across small-to-medium-sized wastewater 
treatment plants? If so, what aspects of a prize in particular can help 
achieve this goal? If not, what other approaches could be considered? 
Are there other complementary activities that can be pursued to 
increase the impact of the prize?
    2. Are there other, similar initiatives that could help inform this 
prize?
    3. One of DOE's primary objectives with a prize is to stimulate the 
development of multi-stakeholder, systems-based solutions. Please share 
any examples of these types of solutions you have observed as well as 
what you believe advanced these solutions. Conversely, what barriers 
exist to the development and execution of these types of collaborative 
integrative solutions?
    4. What resource recovery technologies do you believe are most 
promising in the context of this prize, and what challenges exist in 
integrating these technologies into wastewater treatment plants? Are 
there promising systems configurations that incorporate multiple 
technologies?
    5. What state and local policies are effective at enabling the 
acceleration of resource recovery at wastewater facilities? Conversely, 
what regulatory and policy barriers prevent acceleration of resource 
recovery?
    6. What barriers prevent potential resource customers from 
purchasing and using resources from local wastewater treatment plants?
    7. What stakeholders are important to engage as partners or 
competitors?

Category 2: Prize Design

    1. Is the proposed two-phase prize concept the most effective way 
of ensuring actionable ideas emerge from broad stakeholder teams? Is 
the proposed timeline (i.e., about six months for phase one and a year 
for phase two) sufficient to ensure DOE receives thoughtful, well-
crafted application materials?
    2. Does the lack of a demonstration phase in the current proposed 
prize design limit the effectiveness of the approach? How could the 
design of the prize competition be enhanced so that participants are 
best-positioned to implement their proposed solutions after the 
competition is over?
    3. Are the proposed incentive levels (i.e., $50,000 for teams 
selected in phase one; $250,000 for teams selected in phase two) 
sufficient to incent participation?
    4. Is 50 million gallons/day an appropriate cutoff for competitor 
facility size?
    5. How can the prize competition be structured such that the 
lessons learned from the projects that are selected through the 
competition are generalizable and useful to other wastewater treatment 
plants and communities? How can the prize be designed to generate 
replicable outcomes?
    6. A key objective of the prize is to position participants to 
successfully apply for financing from other public agencies. Does 
aligning phase two application requirements with the common application 
requirements from such programs help to achieve this goal? Are there 
other ways of achieving this? What financing programs are important to 
consider?
    7. Please share any other perspectives on details of the prize 
design.

Category 3: Criteria and Metrics

    1. As currently envisioned, the prize targets the recovery of 
energy, clean water, and nutrients. Are there other resources that are 
being recovered or could be recovered from municipal wastewater that 
should be included in this prize?
    2. Within the categories of recoverable resources proposed for 
inclusion in the prize, are there industry-standard quantitative 
metrics that measure the level of resource recovery?
    3. As discussed above, DOE may require applicants to demonstrate 
how the proposed plan reaches threshold levels on resource recovery 
metrics. For these ``threshold levels,'' is a fixed recovery rate or 
improvement rate more appropriate as a threshold to measure resource 
recovery for small-to-medium-sized wastewater treatment plants?
    4. What are ambitious but achievable targets for the metrics 
identified in questions two and three in this section at an individual 
plant level, i.e., what are the ``threshold levels'' that

[[Page 49721]]

applicants should need to achieve at a minimum to be considered for 
selection?
    5. What are ambitious but achievable targets for plant-level and/or 
system-level energy efficiency improvements for recovery of clean 
water, nutrients and other resources?
    6. What metrics are appropriate to assess the financial viability 
of a submission as part of phase two judging?
    7. How should DOE assess the innovativeness of prize applications?

Request for Information Response Guidelines

    Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to 
[email protected] no later than 5:00 p.m. (ET) on 
October 23, 2019. Responses must be provided as attachments to an 
email. It is recommended that attachments with file sizes exceeding 
25MB be compressed (i.e., zipped) to ensure message delivery. Responses 
must be provided as a Microsoft Word (.docx) attachment to the email, 
and no more than 20 pages in length, 12 point font, 1 inch margins. 
Only electronic responses will be accepted.
    Please identify your answers by responding to a specific question 
or topic if applicable. Respondents may answer as many or as few 
questions as they wish.
    EERE will not respond to individual submissions or publish publicly 
a compendium of responses. A response to this RFI will not be viewed as 
a binding commitment to develop or pursue the project or ideas 
discussed. This is solely a request for information and not an 
announcement for a prize competition. EERE is not accepting 
applications or submissions for a potential prize competition. If EERE 
pursues the potential prize competition, it would be announced through 
a separate solicitation.
    Respondents are requested to provide the following information at 
the start of their response to this RFI:
     Company/institution name;
     Company/institution contact;
     Contact's address, phone number, and email address.

Confidential Business Information

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that 
he or she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public 
disclosure should submit via email two well marked copies: One copy of 
the document marked ``confidential'' including all the information 
believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document marked ``non-
confidential'' with the information believed to be confidential 
deleted. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential 
status of the information and treat it according to its determination.
    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat 
submitted information as confidential include: (1) A description of the 
items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as 
confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is 
generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the 
information has previously been made available to others without 
obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the 
competitive injury to the submitting person that would result from 
public disclosure; (6) when such information might lose its 
confidential character due to the passage of time; and (7) why 
disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.

    Signed in Washington, DC, on August 30, 2019.
Valri Lightner,
Deputy Director, Advanced Manufacturing Office.
[FR Doc. 2019-20541 Filed 9-20-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6450-01-P