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"Deployment of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Systems into Green Communities"

Solicitation Number: 020311PS
Agency: Department of Energy
Office: Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC (DOE Contractor)
Location: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Sources Sought
Added: Feb 07, 2011 2:36 pm

“Deployment of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Systems into Green Communities”


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are supporting the use of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies as part of a community’s overall energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy portfolio. This support includes assisting communities that have existing energy efficiency plans, greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction plans, sustainable energy plans and the like in place to incorporate hydrogen and fuel cell technologies as another option to achieve energy savings and GHG reduction goals. This support also includes identifying opportunities for education and outreach to increase the public’s awareness of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

Green communities can be thought of as residential, mixed-use, light commercial, municipal, or state sites, as examples, that have made a documented commitment to mitigating their environmental impact (reducing their carbon footprint, increasing their energy efficiency, decreasing their resource consumption rate, and installing renewable energy). This effort will help communities accomplish innovative projects that integrate hydrogen and fuel cell technologies with other complimentary energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy investments. Communities and industrial partners within community project teams that have already established energy efficiency plans, GHG reduction plans, sustainable energy plans, and the like are especially encouraged to respond to this Sources Sought notice.

DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program included $3.2 billion in 2009 Recovery Act federal funds to deploy the cheapest, cleanest, and most reliable energy technologies we have—energy efficiency and conservation—across the country. The goals of this Program were to reduce fossil fuel emissions; reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities; improve energy efficiency in the transportation, building and other appropriate sectors; and to create and retain jobs. This Sources Sought notice seeks to leverage the energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy investments already made in communities by identifying potential projects for integrating hydrogen and fuel cell technologies into a community’s existing energy efficiency and conservation plan to increase the community’s energy savings and environmental benefits.


This Sources Sought notice seeks to identify communities and industrial partners within community project teams that already have energy efficiency and conservation plans, and that are capable of leveraging their previous work for deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell systems. This program will *NOT result in a grant or financial assistance agreement*. Rather, based on the responses received to this Sources Sought Notice, NREL anticipates issuing a formal Request for Proposals, which will require both cost and technical proposals from selected responders. The proposals received in response to the formal Request for Proposals (RFP) will be evaluated according to the terms of the RFP only, and negotiations may be conducted toward award of a subcontract with one or more successful offerors. Subcontract reimbursement will be based solely upon the successful completion of tasks and accepted deliverables that will be specifically defined in the Statement of Work. As potential Subcontractor(s) to NREL, successful offeror(s) shall be required to accept and comply with all of NREL’s established Subcontract Terms and Conditions.


Examples of projects that could be considered for subcontracting opportunities generally include the following: (These examples are provided solely to guide responders, and are not intended to limit or restrict responses to this Sources Sought Notice.)

Example 1: An off grid community has just completed an extensive energy efficiency, time of use, and conservation study followed by an implementation program that has resulted in a 40% reduction in energy consumption by the community. Now the community has adopted a plan to generate 80% of their remaining energy needs from clean energy sources. The analysis conducted to baseline the community’s reduced energy usage profile has also identified opportunities for leveraging clean energy sources available in the community. The analysis indicates that biogas from an anaerobic digester located in the community could be used to used to operate a fuel cell system to generate electrical power and high quality heat needed by the community. The low quality heat and exhaust gas (rich in carbon dioxide and moisture) from the fuel cell system could also be integrated with a community greenhouse used to produce fresh vegetables for this off grid community throughout the year. The value of this potential project to the community is measured in terms of contributing to the community’s clean energy plan, reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and increased local food production with a decreased carbon footprint.

Example 2: A technology campus has an environmental mandate to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions by 50%. Retrofitting the existing buildings with energy-saving measures has resulted in a 30% reduction in energy consumption; however, more improvements are still required to satisfy the mandate. Additionally, this environmental mandate must be balanced with the business mission of the community which requires continuous, reliable, high quality power. A proposed fuel cell system could provide continuous backup power to critical business operations and protect this community from power grid failures that would result in economic losses. Additionally, analysis shows that the fuel cell system would contribute to satisfying the community’s base electrical load requirements during normal power grid operation with improved energy efficiency and decreased GHG emissions relative to the grid-supplied power. The value of this potential project to the community is measured in terms of increased power security for the community’s business mission, and contributes to the community’s mandate for improved energy efficiency and reduced GHG emissions.

Example 3: A group of mixed-use buildings in an urban setting has banded together to form a community and implemented a district heating and cooling network based on an advanced hydronic loop system. This community has reduced its overall thermal energy requirements by 30% and reduced GHG emissions by 20% relative to its previous levels by implementing this technology. However, the community still has thermal and electrical energy needs that are not being met by onsite generators, and the community’s sustainable energy plan calls for installing on-site generators that operate with greater energy efficiency and lower GHG emissions than power delivered via the grid from a coal-fired power plant. Further analysis indicates that a fuel cell co-generation plant could provide sufficient electric power and heat to meet the community’s requirements. The value of this potential project to the community is measured in terms of achieving energy efficiency and GHG emission goals adopted in the community’s sustainable energy plan.

Example 4: A municipality has defined a plan for becoming a zero net energy community. The municipality has already leveraged federal funds and private foundation grants to greatly reduce community needs for vehicles, thermal, and electrical energy. Renewable energy investments in the municipality are not capable of reliably meeting all of the community’s energy requirements during peak consumption periods, even with the reduced demands resulting from the existing energy efficiency and conservation investments. The municipality has analyzed its energy consumption profile and identified a system capable of integrating with the existing renewable energy generators to produce hydrogen from renewable sources for use as an energy storage media. The community’s plan for achieving net zero energy status includes the acquisition of a fleet of fuel cell powered buses in the near future. In order to accommodate this future hydrogen demand, the system will be sized to produce sufficient hydrogen to fuel these buses. The value of this potential project to the community is measured in terms of achieving its goal of becoming a zero net energy community and reducing GHG/air emissions.

Example 5: A community with excess renewable energy production is forced to curtail production when the grid is saturated. Installation of an electrolyzer would allow the community to store and sell excess renewable energy production in the form of renewably produced hydrogen. The electrolyzer would generate a new revenue stream for the community by selling the excess hydrogen as fuel to a distribution warehouse located in the community with a fleet of fuel cell powered material handling equipment. The value proposition for the community is justified by more fully utilizing existing renewable energy investments to shorten the financial payback period on these investments, and increased revenue for the community. The use of renewable hydrogen by a local employer increases public awareness of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and also provides a unique and valuable identity for a business located within the community.


Communities, organizations, and industrial partners responding to this Sources Sought Notice must describe specific capabilities, attributes, and skills directly related to the following areas:

1. Community adoption of plans and strategies for GHG reduction, energy efficiency, conservation, clean

energy and renewable energy.

2. Ability to articulate a hydrogen or fuel cell project that leverages and integrates with the existing energy

efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy investments in the identified community.

3. Description of the value and benefit of the proposed project to the community.

4. Described knowledge of and means of providing the proposed hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

5. Ability to conduct high profile public outreach and education activities that increase the public’s

awareness of the hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.


The response to this Sources Sought Notice is limited to *five (5) pages* of single-spaced text of 12-point font, with minimum 1” margins. Brevity is encouraged. All responses shall directly address the *Qualifications* listed above.

All inquiries and responses shall be submitted in writing via e-mail to .

Electronic format of the response shall be in MSWord/Excel, or converted to .pdf. Electronic files in excess of 10MB will not be accepted.

Responses to this notice must be received by the response date (March 2, 2011, 5:30 p.m. MST). Responding to this request identifies your organization as an interested party only. Your submittal is not in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP).

1617 Cole Boulevard
Golden, Colorado 80401
Patricia Schieler,
Subcontract Administrator