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Collaborative Opportunities for Research, Development, and Demonstration of Solar Thermal Technologies and Systems at Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF).

Solicitation Number: 14_408
Agency: Department of Energy
Office: Sandia Corp. (DOE Contractor)
Location: Sandia National Laboratories
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Special Notice
Added: May 01, 2014 6:09 pm Modified: Jun 26, 2014 11:00 amTrack Changes
Background Information:

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), with Department of Energy (DOE) sponsorship, has made substantial contributions over the last 35+ years in all aspects of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies. These include component technologies (i.e., reflector designs, receivers, thermal storage); advanced metrology solutions (i.e., beam characterization, reflective facet metrology, reflector system alignment); prototyping and characterization using our solar furnace, dish platforms, and the nation’s only research-based solar tower and heliostat field; and high-fidelity modeling of CSP components and systems. In addition, SNL has collaborated with industry in deploying and commissioning commercial projects, and advanced research and development in the CSP field.

SNL is seeking proposals from commercial partners who would like to invest in the development of new solar thermal technologies and/or validation of their technological concepts using SNL’s expertise and infrastructure. Together, we intend to create or improve solar thermal technologies applicable to US manufacturing or deployment. Utilizing EERE-provided funding, SNL will match 30% of the Sandia labor costs for selected proposals for a period of up to two years.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

Opportunity Description:

SNL is seeking proposals for collaborative partnerships with industrial partners who have interest in the design, development, and manufacturing of next generation high efficiency solar thermal technologies.

The areas of possible collaboration include, but are not limited to 1) novel research, development, and demonstration in reflector systems for efficient solar energy collection; 2) large scale metrology; 3) receivers for solar to thermal energy conversion; 4) thermal energy storage; 5) combined cycles for high efficiency; and 6) modeling.  Collaboration efforts must utilize NSTTF capabilities, including its infrastructure.  For information on Sandia’s facilities, visit the National Solar Thermal Test Facility website.

The selected partners will work with SNL to provide a clear benefit to the solar thermal industry including a path to commercialization/deployment of the technologies through refined product design, optimization for manufacturing, and quality assurance. Selected partners will contribute 70% of the total project labor costs and 100% of project purchases. SNL will match 30% of the Sandia labor costs for up to two years of the project duration. (Percentages are based on cash, not in-kind contributions.) Selected partners will be responsible for funding any materials or equipment purchases required for the collaboration. Qualified partners will have the option to negotiate, up to and including, an exclusive license to any new intellectual property developed during the partnership. Please see “Doing Business with Sandia” for a description of the various types of partnerships and agreements available.

SNL will be speaking at the “Partnering with DOE National Labs” workshop during the 2014 SunShot Grand Challenge Summit, hosted by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. A portion of this workshop will be dedicated to answering questions and discussing this announcement in greater detail. For more information on the workshop, please visit the website of the 2014 SunShot Grand Challenge Summit. If you have any additional questions, please contact Amanda Spinney at

What Sandia Brings to the Partnership:

Sandia brings substantive experience in the design, validation, testing, modeling and commissioning of concentrating solar thermal systems and related research and development. We have made many seminal contributions to the concentrating solar technologies field through collaborative research, development, and demonstration projects, numerous technical publications and presentations, and a diverse intellectual property portfolio. 

Our infrastructure includes a solar tower with 218 heliostats creating a thermal flux of nearly 300 W/cm² over an area larger than one meter square (up to 6 MWth), a molten salt test loop capable of running tests at operational temperatures (585 °C) and pressure comparable to commercial thermal storage systems, a 16 kWth solar furnace with peak thermal flux of 600 W/cm2 for materials development and testing, a large scale optical metrology lab where cutting edge techniques for optical alignment and characterization of heliostat trough and dish optical facets have been developed, and two 80 kWth dish system test beds (3000:1 geometric concentration with peak fluxes up to 1200 W/cm²). In addition, we have an engine test facility, a rotating platform for testing of trough systems, salt pots for studying interfacial interactions and corrosion, and a fully equipped fabrication capability for producing CSP related prototypes and parts.

Proposals Sought:

Potential partners are encouraged to submit proposals that outline their unique approaches to resolving technical challenges that will significantly enhance relevant solar thermal technologies, validate novel concepts with prototypes, or demonstrate high TRL technologies through the use of NSTTF capabilities. Initial proposals are anticipated to be approximately 5-10 pages long. The following information is being requested. In addition, interested parties may provide additional relevant information as needed.

   ·      Description of the technical problem the project is proposing to solve

   ·      The unique approach to resolving the problem

   ·      The need for NSTTF resources to solve the technical problem

   ·      A succinct statement of work (SOW) and expected funding needs

   ·      Project team qualifications to successfully complete the project

   ·      Description of relevant experience, expertise, and capabilities

   ·      Description of past experience partnering with Research and Development organizations such as Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC), Universities, National Laboratories, or Government Laboratories

More detailed information may be requested during the review process. 

Instructions to Responders:

Interested parties that meet the Mandatory Requirements provided below are invited to respond to this RFI. Any proprietary information should be properly identified and marked as such. Any information provided in response to this RFI will not be returned. Any and all responses are voluntary and SNL will not pay for any information submitted in response to this RFI. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Responses should be emailed to and should include the RFI title and submitting organization’s name in the subject line. Attachment size should not exceed 5 MB and only the following document types will be accepted (.doc, .docx, .pdf). Responses should be submitted electronically no later than 5:00 p.m. MDT on July 03, 2014. An email notification will be sent acknowledging successful receipt of the response. Questions may be submitted to the same email.

Evaluation Criteria:

In addition to evaluating the proposals for their technical content and viability, SNL will evaluate all responses and select prospective parties with which to engage in further discussions based on the following criteria:


·       Present a clear, consistent, and comprehensive path for advancing solar thermal technologies applicable to US manufacturing or deployment.
Under its SunShot Initiative, DOE seeks to make the US a global leader in concentrating solar power. Consequently, any partnership with SNL receiving EERE-provided cost share needs to have agreed upon milestones and commercialization goals that reflect the intent of SunShot. 

·       Describe a clear benefit of the proposed work to solar thermal industry.
o   As an FFRDC, SNL is obligated to apply its scientific and engineering expertise on pressing national challenges that demand specialized facilities and tools employed by a diverse, highly-skilled, objective technical workforce. Any work conducted by SNL must have a clear impact on the nation’s solar thermal industry challenges. 

·       The unique capabilities of the NSTTF and SNL staff are needed to enable project success.
One of the key purposes of the NSTTF is the development and support of next generation solar technologies. Any project utilizing NSTTF resources should contribute to this goal.

·       A potential partner able to provide funds-in to Sandia to dedicate selected Sandia staff to work side-by-side in research and development efforts.
This would enable scientists, engineers, and technologists on our Solar Thermal team to provide substantive technical assistance in the research and development effort.


·       A US firm able to enter into a CRADA or WFO agreement with Sandia National Laboratories to develop high efficiency solar thermal technologies, components, and manufacturing and deployment processes.

·       Demonstrated experience, expertise, and capabilities in the design, development, and manufacturing of solar thermal components.

·       Proven experience in translating immature technologies into market-driven products.

·       Demonstrated successful partnering and teaming relationships with R&D organizations.

·       Strong interest in commercializing solar thermal technologies.

·       Willingness to further develop and commercialize improvements and new applications for solar thermal technologies.

SNL will consider teaming arrangements where two or more companies may form a team to satisfy the Desired Requirements.

Primary Point of Contact:

Amanda Spinney
Technical Business Development Specialist

Sandia National Laboratories


Keywords: Concentrating Solar Power, Solar Thermal, Solar Receivers, Thermal Energy Storage, Heliostat, Large Scale Optical Metrology, Molten Salt

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Solicitation 1

Posted Date:
May 1, 2014
Description: FY14-Solicitation for Industry Proposals_Final
PO Box 5800
MS: 0115
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185
Amanda Spinney
Phone: 505-844-1075