Energy Innovations Small Grants - Natural Gas Research Program
The Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) Program provides up to $95,000 for hardware projects and $50,000 for modeling projects to businesses, non-profits, individuals, national laboratories, utilities, and academic institutions to conduct research that establishes the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts. Research projects must target one of the PIER R&D areas, address a California energy problem, and provide a potential benefit to California natural gas ratepayers. To encourage participation in the program the application and award process has been simplified and assistance is available in gaining access to technical experts.
The Grant Application Manual and supporting documents for the current solicitation can be downloaded from the solicitation notice page.
Program Questions & Answers
- Who can apply for a grant?
- Can an applicant who already received an EISG grant submit a proposal in a subsequent solicitation?
- What type of work is not eligible for funding?
- How long do awardees have to complete projects?
- What is the procedure for requesting assistance?
- What are my options for submitting my grant application package?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Frequently Asked Questions about California-Based Entities & Form
- Can an applicant submit more than one proposal in a solicitation?
- What project subject areas are eligible for funding?
- To what level has the program been funded?
- How long does it take to receive project funding?
- What are my options for obtaining application materials?
- Whom do I contact for more information?
- How can I be notified of future EISG Solicitations
- Call for "Subject Matter Experts" interested in serving as project team members or consultants
Who can apply for a grant?
Participation in the EISG program is restricted to the following groups:
- Individuals: Must be acting independently. If employed or affiliated with an organization, applicant has authority from the organization to pursue project development exclusively as an individual with no rights reserved to the organization. The individual, not the organization, retains all intellectual property rights accrued from the grant project.
- All Businesses: There is no restriction on the size of the business
- Non-Profit Organizations: Possess IRS tax exemption. Non-profit organizations that are already under contract to the Energy Commission to perform PIER related work outside of the EISG Program are prohibited from applying to the EISG Program.
- Academic Institutions: Public or private postsecondary institutions.
The Energy Commission reserves the right to limit participation in a particular solicitation to one or more of the four applicant groups and/or to limit the subject areas in order to meet overall program objectives. If a solicitation is restricted by applicant type or subject area it will be clearly identified in the solicitation notice published on the EISG Natural Gas Solicitation web page.
Can an applicant submit more than one proposal in a solicitation?
Individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations are limited to submitting one proposal per solicitation. An individual who is also a sole proprietor is considered a single entity for the purpose of this policy. Academic institutions and their Foundations are limited to submitting one proposal from any one principal investigator in a given solicitation. An individual cannot serve as a principal investigator on more than one EISG Natural Gas grant at a time. Multiple projects cannot be proposed in a single application. If more than one proposal is submitted the Program Administrator will accept the first proposal received or the first proposal logged in if more than one proposal is sent in the same package and will return the remaining proposal(s) to the applicant.
Can an applicant who already received an EISG grant submit a proposal in a subsequent solicitation?
EISG Awardees are allowed only one active EISG Natural Gas grant at a time. EISG Awardees cannot submit another proposal for consideration until the EISG Program Administrator has published an Independent Assessment Report on the Awardee's last grant project.
What project subject areas are eligible for funding?
EISG Program is designed to fill a fairly narrow research niche that focuses on early "proof of concept" research of new innovative energy ideas to determine if they are technologically and economically feasible. To be eligible, the subject area must target one of the six PIER program areas listed below:
- Natural Gas Energy Efficiency
This end use efficiency program includes R&D activities that: (a) reduce the energy input requirements per unit of output or service of residential and commercial devices or systems and/or (b) reduce overall energy consumption by reducing demand for energy consuming goods and/or services in California residential, commercial and/or industrial facilities.
The benefits associated within this Area are achieving increases in end-use efficiency and the resulting improved air quality, decreased use of fossil fuels, reduced expenditures on energy by consumers, and increased statewide and regional economic benefits through less reliance on imported gas supplies.
- Gas water heating technology
- Gas space heating technology
- Commercial food service technology
- Industrial combustion efficiency
- Industrial waste heat recovery
- Gas appliance technology
- Gas space cooling technology
- Natural Gas Environmental Impacts
This environmental Research Area includes R&D activities that: (a) evaluate air quality and climate change impacts of use of natural gas and non-traditional natural gas in stationary applications, (b) identify measures to reduce negative impacts from use of those fuels, and (c) investigate the approach that the state should take to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to a changing climate.
As California embarks on an ambitious path towards hydrogen as an energy carrier for stationary and transportation applications, there is a need to understand the impacts of the shift to new energy pathways to reduce the overall environmental and economic impacts. This portfolio will develop the tools and will provide the analysis that policy makers can use to decide on robust energy pathways that are environmentally sound and more broadly, optimal measures for assessing greenhouse emissions reductions goals for California.
- Air quality impacts and mitigation strategies for combustion of alternative gas supplies (e.g. off-spec and LNG)
- Climate change adaptation and mitigation- issues and implications for the natural gas system
- Renewable Energy Technologies
The renewables program area includes R&D activities that reduce overall gas consumption by developing alternative energy sources for California residential, commercial and/or industrial sectors. The benefits associated with this Research Area are decreases in the consumption of gas and the resulting improved air quality (including potential reduction in the environmental impacts associated with current disposal practices for California's biomass residues), potential reduced expenditures on energy by consumers, and increased statewide and regional economic benefits through less reliance on imported gas supplies.
- Water heating alternatives
- Process heating alternatives
- Renewable natural gas fuel replacements
- Strategic Analysis
This research address topics such as value of increased gas storage; impact on gas prices and reliability of various fuel specifications, including off-spec and LNG; market analysis, identifying real time slack capacity needed in pipelines and mitigating impact of catastrophic events (e.g.,earthquakes and terrorism).
The proposed benefits of this work will occur in part through more timely, better informed, and effective policy decisions by State officials as well as gas service providers. This area's research will permit improved pipeline security from both earthquake and intentional damage, more economical and stable gas prices through improved cost structures and gas storage strategies, and improved understanding of market structure and regulatory actions' effect on gas prices and gas availability. Other strategic R&D benefits may be relatively specific, such as optimization of slack pipeline capacity to improve infrastructure efficiency and storage volume for peak demands, supplier price spikes, or supply interruptions.
- Tool and model development to aid in targeting appropriate infrastructure improvements
- Economic research to address State gas energy policy issues
- Security related to catastrophic events
- Advanced Generation Concepts
Environmentally preferred advanced generation is broadly defined as RD&D activities targeting the development of highly efficient natural gas generation technologies using clean fuels. In determining whether a particular fuel is "clean" or not, consideration must be given to environmental impacts across the entire fuel cycle of the type of generation proposed (e.g., including fuel production, transportation, refinement and generation). RD&D efforts in this area should address improvements in generation efficiency and/or environmental performance.
Public benefits from RD&D efforts in the environmentally preferred advanced generation subject area include reduced natural gas production costs, reduced fuel consumption and reduced environmental impacts.
Additional details about the Energy Commission's research program subject areas can be found on the Research and Development page of the Commission's website.
EISG proposals are not required to address specific PIER research issues since the EISG Program was designed to remain open to all new technologies that may not have been previously considered as potential solutions to California's energy problems. However, EISG funded projects that do not clearly address one or more of the PIER research issues are unlikely to be recommended for follow-on funding within the main PIER Program unless a major technological breakthrough was made that has the potential to significantly impact the California natural gas market.
What type of work is not eligible for funding?
The following types of research and activities are not eligible for EISG funding:
- Advanced development of concepts already proven feasible
- Science or technology advances adequately addressed by competitive and regulated markets
- Full-scale prototyping when subscale or bench testing would be more appropriate
- Data gathering and reporting activities
- Marketing and promotion activities
- Market, literature or technology assessments/surveys
- Technology demonstrations of existing technologies for public outreach/education
- Product development, testing or validations normally done after research
- Commercialization or certifications (e.g., UL Listing)
- Research that is not PIER related and has no clear market connection
- Meta-analysis studies
- Electricity research with little or no connection to natural gas markets except as authorized in the PIER R&D plan for natural gas.
- Research that does not propose a clear solution to an existing energy problem
- Research that seeks to identify a new energy problem or further define an existing energy problem with no focus on proving feasibility of a specific solution
- Software development with no research or validation component
The proposals that are most competitive are those that speak with clarity and focus and:
- Will establish the feasibility of concepts designed to advance energy science and/or technology beneficial to California's natural gas ratepayers;
- Identify the research gaps that make the project necessary;
- Describes the research tasks required to complete the project and identifies all related performance objectives associated with each task.
Applicants are cautioned about the development and/or use of software for research and validation. Such proposals must have a strong validation component. Software may be used as an already validated tool, in which case the proposal must contain convincing information that establishes the reliability and independence of the validation. Software may also be developed and used for modeling and simulation in the course of the project, in which case the proposal must contain the use of a standard or some other device or approach that will be used to independently establish the validity of the project results. Proposals that seek to establish theoretical feasibility through computer modeling and simulation most often fail because they lack a strong validation component.
Applicants that are in doubt about the suitability of a particular subject area or type of research are encouraged to submit an informal 2-3 page pre-proposal abstract to the EISG Program Administrator for evaluation prior to submitting a full application. See Part 2. A. in the Grant Application Manual for additional details.
To what level has the program been funded?
In August of 2004, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued an Order that established the public interest natural gas research and development (R&D) program to be administered by the California Energy Commission (Energy Commission). The entire PIER Natural Gas program started at $12 million in 2005 and will grow by $3 million annually to a maximum of $24 million per year. The CEC has an $18 million funding budget for the 2007 program. The funds for this solicitation will come from the 2007 natural gas PIER EISG Program. One solicitation per year is planned for the EISG Natural Gas Program.
How long do awardees have to complete projects?
The period of performance on a grant project may not exceed 12 months. All deliverables, including the Final Report, must be received during the stated term of the grant agreement.
How long does it take to receive project funding?
It takes approximately six months after the cutoff date to complete the proposal evaluation, approval and agreement execution process. Project research may begin as soon as the grant agreement is fully executed by the EISG Program Administrator. The schedule for the funding cycle is as follows:
|Pre-proposal Abstracts Accepted (Optional):||See Solicitation Notice for submission cutoff|
|Grant Applications Received:||No later than 5 p.m. on proposal cutoff date|
|Commission Approval of Awards:||Within 20 weeks of cutoff date|
|Notification of Awards:||Within 5 business days (mail & website)|
|Execute Grant Agreements:||Average time is 4 weeks after approval|
What is the procedure for requesting assistance?
Applicants may request the following assistance:
- Help in completing the administrative requirements of the Grant Application Manual.
- Obtain informal assessments on proposed research topics.
- Obtain additional feedback on proposals submitted in prior solicitations that were not funded.
Applicants may direct their requests for assistance to the EISG Program Administrator via email, phone, fax or mail (see Whom Do I Contact For More Information for contact information). In the case of locating technical experts, the Program Administrator recommends using your local university/college as a resource to assist with proposal preparation or serve as team members or subcontractors on a project. It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the recommended persons to discuss and negotiate an arrangement (e.g., a subcontract or a joint participation agreement) that would become effective upon grant award. The cost of the technical expert's participation must be included in Proposed Budget Summary (Form D) in the grant application.
What are my options for obtaining application materials?
- You can download the Grant Application Manual in PDF or Word from the EISG Solicitation page. Form D (Proposed Budget) is also available as an Excel file to facilitate data entry and computations. Form D is also included in the PDF and Word versions of the application manual.
Applicants that are not able to download the application documents from the solicitation page on the web may request a paper copy of the Grant Application Manual via email, fax or mail. Please include in the request your name, organization and mailing address.
Email the request to.
Or Fax the request to: (619) 594-0996
Or mail the request to:
EISG Program Administrator
San Diego State University Foundation
5250 Campanile Drive, MC 1858
San Diego, CA 92182-1858
What are my options for submitting my grant application package?
Grant Applications must be submitted on paper for two reasons. First, we need an original signature on one of the copies. Second, by having the applicant provide the four copies, the applicant can be assured that the copies forwarded to reviewers are complete. Submit applications to the appropriate address below:
Address if sent by U.S. Postal Service:
San Diego State University Foundation
5250 Campanile Drive, MC 1858
San Diego, CA 92182-1858
Physical address for FedEx, UPS or hand delivery:
6495 Alvarado Rd., Suite 103
San Diego, CA 92120
Whom do I contact for more information?
If you have any questions regarding the EISG Program, please contact the EISG Program Administrator.
San Diego State University Foundation
5250 Campanile Drive, MC 1858
San Diego, CA 92182-1858
Phone: (619) 594-1049
Fax: (619) 594-0996
How can I be notified of future EISG Solicitations?
Individuals and organizations that desire to receive an e-mail notification of only EISG solicitations can subscribe to the EISG Solicitation Notification List by sending an email to the EISG Program Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line or body of the email indicate, "Subscribe to the EISG Solicitation Notification List". If you want the notification to go to a different email address than the address the email was sent from then indicate the email address you want the notification sent to.
Information sent to the EISG Program Administrator will be used solely to contact people regarding the program. The data gathered is subject to state privacy regulations and cannot be released to others or used for any other purposes except for that for which it was intended.
Individuals and organizations that desire to receive a notification of all Energy Commission funding solicitations may subscribe to the Commission's "opportunity" list server at the bottom of the right-hand column of the Commission Contracts Page. You will receive e-mail announcements of all Energy Commission funding notices and solicitations, including all Energy Innovations Small Grant Program solicitations.
Call for "Subject Matter Experts" interested in serving as project team members or consultants.
The EISG Program is in the process of constructing a database of qualified Subject Matter Experts that are interested in serving as team members or consultants on grant projects. Our intent is to provide a public database that grant applicants can use to assist them in putting together research teams for grant proposals. The database would be published on the web and organized around specific energy technologies (PV, wind turbines, gas turbines etc.) and education or training (mechanical engineering, chemist, physicist, CAD expert, machinist etc.). Those interested in being added to the database need to send a 1-2 page bio or résumé that is approved for publication on the web. The bio must include the following information:
- Contact information
- Specify the type of work you are interested in performing.
- Education or training
- Experience in area(s) that you desire to serve as a subject matter expert.
- At your option you may provide additional information such as time availability, labor costs, willingness to sign non-disclosure agreements and willingness to provide references upon request who can vouch for the quality of your work.
It is the responsibility of the grant applicants to contact the Subject Matter Experts directly to negotiate their level of participation and compensation contingent upon the applicant receiving a grant award. The applicant is also responsible for taking the necessary prudent actions to validate the education and experience claims made by the Subject Matter Experts, such as checking references. The Program Administrator assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided by the Subject Matter Experts.