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