Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I work with the ElectroCat Consortium?

There are two mechanisms for working with ElectroCat:

  1. Leveraging DOE funding. DOE recently released a Notice of Intent (NOI) for a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) wherein applicants will be encouraged to leverage capabilities within ElectroCat in their proposed research. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to explore ElectroCat capabilities listed on this website, check the website frequently for new additions, and work with the ElectroCat Steering Committee to clarify any questions about use of these capabilities in proposed research. The FOA is planned for release in the Fall of 2016.  Once the FOA is released, communication with ElectroCat will be restricted to public webinars and teleconferences; accordingly, interested applicants are encouraged to begin interfacing with the ElectroCat Steering Committee as early as possible. View the NOI. More detail on the funding mechanisms for working with ElectroCat is available in the FOA itself.
  2. Using Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) or Strategic Partnership Projects (SPPs). CRADAs and SPPs are standard agreements commonly used by industry to leverage capabilities at the labs, while paying for cost recovery of those resources. Under CRADAs, industry/academia collaborates with the labs in executing a scope of work. Under SPPs, the national lab executes the work independently for the entity providing the funding.
How do I ensure my research is protected if I work with ElectroCat? Are there requirements for data sharing?

ElectroCat is in the process of developing a standard, non-negotiable non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that each of the member laboratories will sign prior to collaborations with industry/academia on any confidential information. Additionally, in FY17, ElectroCat will be launching an online data portal to house non-proprietary experimental and computational data. Collaborators and FOA-awarded projects will be expected to support the data portal with any non-proprietary data generated.

What exactly is a “capability”?  What am I getting access to as part of a capability?

A capability is the combination of a tool, equipment, or technique, and expertise. Each capability described in the ElectroCat Capabilities section has a description of the capability, examples of how the equipment/techniques has been used, and names of researchers at the national laboratories with expertise in use of this equipment/technique, and the limitations of the equipment/technique. Organizations working with ElectroCat will collaborate with researchers at the national laboratories to apply the equipment/technique to their ElectroCat-relevant R&D activity.

In addition to the detailed descriptions of the capabilities in the Capabilities section of this website, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) hosted a public webinar on November 8, 2016, which gave an overview of ElectroCat’s capabilities.  View the webinar presentation or an overview presentation about ElectroCat capabilities.

How do I contact ElectroCat to find out more information about a given capability?

Please email contact@electrocat.org with any questions. An email sent to this address will go to the ElectroCat Steering Committee members. In addition, the names of the capability experts are given on each capability page. However, applicants to the DOE-EERE-FCTO FOA are prohibited from directly contacting ElectroCat Steering Committee members and capability experts, now that the FOA has been issued. At this point, any questions regarding the content of this FOA may only be submitted through FY17FCTOofficewidefoa@ee.doe.gov, and will be posted on EERE Exchange.

Are Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) at national laboratories outside the four ElectroCat national laboratories (Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) allowed to utilize the consortium?

Yes.

If the consortium is being leveraged for FOA-partnered support, does the applicant’s award have to cover the cost of using the consortium?

If the consortium is being used to support a FOA award, funding for the consortium’s activities will be provided by DOE, independently and in addition to the award provided to the FOA applicant, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

If an applicant to an Energy Materials Network (EMN) FOA topic wishes to use a capability at a lab that is part of the respective EMN consortium, but that capability is not listed on the consortium website, can it be included in the application?

While the addition of capabilities to each consortium is an on-going activity, applicants can only leverage capabilities that are part of a consortium when describing how they will collaborate with the consortium. A capability that is not listed on the consortium’s website is not part of the consortium, even if it is available at a member laboratory. Use of any capability that is at a member laboratory but is not listed on the consortium’s website will have to be funded through the FOA award; such a capability will not be funded independently as a consortium activity.

If we want to leverage the EMN capabilities, how do we include the EMN labs and their capabilities in the proposal?

Applicants are expected to detail their intended use of EMN capabilities in their full proposals. Please see the FOA for additional information.

Are interested FOA applicants prohibited from directly contacting individual capability experts to clarify any questions about use of these capabilities in proposed research?

Applicants are prohibited from directly contacting ElectroCat Steering Committee members and capability experts, now that the FOA has been issued. At this point, any questions regarding the content of this FOA may only be submitted through FY17FCTOofficewidefoa@ee.doe.gov, and will be posted on EERE Exchange.