Frequently asked questions

General

ARCHES is a public-private partnership to create a sustainable, statewide, clean hydrogen hub in California and beyond. For more information, see https://archesh2.org/about/.

There are three ways to engage with ARCHES:

  • Submitting a Memorandum of Commitment to contributor@archesh2.org will enable you to participate in ARCHES working groups and other opportunities shared to the MOC signatory mailing list.
  • If you sign a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) with ARCHES, you will gain all privileges of an MOC signatory. The NDA is necessary to protect the confidential business information shared as part of the Hydrogen Hub funding opportunity.
  • Submitting the ARCHES contact form will add you to a general mailing list for public ARCHES events and announcements. If your organization has already signed an MOC or NDA, you will be added to those mailing lists unless ARCHES is otherwise instructed by your organization.

The NDA can be modified and discussed with ARCHES. We will rarely accept modifications to the MOC and recommend parties sign an NDA instead of a modified MOC.

ARCHES will first review the agreement you signed. We aim to process Memoranda of Commitment within a week of their submission. Nondisclosure Agreements may take longer to process. The duration of these processes will depend on the number of submissions we receive. Once your agreement is approved, you will receive a confirmation from ARCHES and be added to the appropriate ARCHES email lists. Please add info@archesh2.org to your email client’s safe sender list to avoid messages being filtered as spam. You will receive an email from info@archesh2.org to catch you up on current events and inform you of future messages.

Please give us their email addresses when we confirm approval of your submitted MOC or NDA, or by emailing info@archesh2.org.

Check your spam folder; this is the primary reason people do not see ARCHES emails. If there are no ARCHES emails in your spam folder, please contact info@archesh2.org and we will troubleshoot with you.

Maximizing transparency within the limitations of state and federal law and a competitive environment is a top priority for ARCHES. To that end, we have hosted and will continue to host public meetings and discussions to share as much information as we can about ARCHES governance, plans, and processes. Our team is also meeting directly with community members to answer questions.

That said, many entities are competing for the $8 billion in hydrogen hub funding. Disclosing proposal contents would give our competition an advantage. In addition, the Procurement Integrity Act prohibits sharing contents of proposals for federal grant competitions. If and when it is feasible to reveal proposal information, ARCHES will do so in support of public transparency.

ARCHES recognizes this need and is exploring the best way to compensate and/or otherwise support the participation of community members and groups. This may take the form of reimbursement for lost wages, child support, transportation costs, etc.

ARCHES is committed to establishing and sustaining productive partnerships with community, EJ, and environmental advocates.

ARCHES is creating positions for community representatives at multiple levels of the organization to represent the interests of California communities at all aspects and phases of its operation, from project selection to governance. Community interests will be represented on the ARCHES Board and nominated by Advisory Committees representing all aspects of California communities, including organized labor, environmental NGOs, EJ and other representatives of impacted communities, cities and local governments, and tribal nations.

ARCHES is engaging community groups including labor leaders, environmental advocates, EJ leaders, and tribal nations to clarify questions about ARCHES and obtain inputs to inform planning.

ARCHES is creating a Community Benefits and Engagement Plan that will be a required component of all funded ARCHES projects. It will include significant community engagement and partnership components and is continuously evolving with input from diverse community stakeholders.

Additionally, ARCHES has components such as Workforce Development that include outreach and community engagement and support throughout the state. These activities will inform the ARCHES Board and actions.

ARCHES is a limited liability corporation with a management team and a Board of Directors. Ultimate decision-making authority rests with the Board. Project selection will be decided by the ARCHES Board, based on recommendations from a team of independent technical merit reviewers and ARCHES management. Decisions about project funding will be based on the ARCHES vetting process, which lays out a set of criteria for selecting projects. These criteria are based on a combination of the DOE requirements, California priorities, and ARCHES principles. ARCHES staff will vet applicants based on these criteria, and the ARCHES Board will make final decisions about which projects will apply for matching funds from the DOE and the State of California.

Community representatives will have seats on the ARCHES Board. Board members will be nominated by Advisory Committees representing different aspects of California communities, including organized labor, environmental NGOs, EJ and other representatives of impacted communities, cities and local governments, and tribal nations.

Additionally, ARCHES has components such as Workforce Development that include outreach and community engagement and support throughout the state. These activities will inform the ARCHES Board and actions.

The Bagley-Keene and Brown Acts do not apply to ARCHES since it is a private entity. However, ARCHES is committed to openness and transparency in all its proceedings.

ARCHES will be as open and transparent as possible about all its proceedings, while maintaining strict confidentiality where necessary to protect personal, proposal, and business information.

It is the intention of ARCHES to only fund the production and use of hydrogen 1) produced with renewable resources, as defined by the state of California, and 2) that meet or exceed federal carbon intensity requirements on a life cycle emission basis. Beyond that, ARCHES also will consider other emissions criteria from pollutants, water resources, etc. to be “green” hydrogen production.

All electrolytic hydrogen projects that receive funding support will have to meet ARCHES criteria. Proposals will be evaluated based on ARCHES vetting criteria and overall GHG, local air quality, state environmental goals, and community impacts. To be accepted as part of the state hydrogen hub, such projects will have to undergo rigorous analysis to show they do not emit criteria emissions, toxics, or noxious odors that harm local communities. In addition, DOE-funded hub projects must comply with DOE requirements and definitions.

ARCHES has developed a set of project selection criteria. A draft informed by conversations with EJ leaders throughout the state was shared with EJ groups and others who attended the October ARCHES Launch workshop in Long Beach. We refined the criteria in consultation with ARCHES partners who signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

ARCHES is still developing its Community Benefits Plan. As a start, we are referencing guidance documents such as the DOE Community Benefits Plan Toolkit.

However, ARCHES is prepared to make the following set of commitments to the community:

ARCHES Commitments to Community, Energy and Environmental Equity and Justice:

  • ARCHES will only fund production, distribution, storage, and use of clean renewable hydrogen.
  • ARCHES will not fund blending of hydrogen in natural gas distribution pipelines.
  • ARCHES will include organized labor, cities and local governments, tribal nations, communities and environmental justice organizations in its governance and decision-making.
  • ARCHES will involve local communities in decision-making about projects in their communities.
  • ARCHES will ensure that training programs, career development support, and high-road career opportunities are available to California's disadvantaged communities.
  • ARCHES will require that all projects advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • ARCHES will require at least 40% of the benefits from its projects to flow to California’s disadvantaged communities.

ARCHES will only support state-of-the-art new technologies. We will also perform extensive modeling and analyses to inform project selection. ARCHES will conduct safety, codes, and standards work to determine appropriate mechanisms for monitoring and rectifying any potential hydrogen leaks. ARCHES projects will be required to monitor and repair leaks. The use of hydrogen fuel for many decades in industrial settings, including pipelines in Long Beach and Los Angeles Basin, has led to continuing improvements in technologies for repairing hydrogen leaks.

It is the intention of ARCHES to only fund power plants capable of using 100% hydrogen feedstock by the end of the DOE federal funding timeframe.

Hub Project Proposal

A project template can be downloaded here in PDF or Word. Please submit proposals to ARCHES by 5:00 pm PST, December 23, 2023.

There are maximum page limits for each section, as outlined in the project submission template. It is ok to summarize your project in fewer pages. Font must be 11 point, Calibri. Margins must be 1 inch around.

ARCHES Hub project vetting criteria are available at this link.

Due to the April 7 DOE deadline, it is not feasible to extend project submissions to the end of January. ARCHES requires sufficient project information to begin vetting by Dec. 23, 2022, even if Board approval, etc. is still pending. Project negotiations are expected to begin in January, and we expect some back-and-forth discussion. While all projects are interesting and very many may be meritorious, not all aspects of every project will be able to be included in the DOE Hydrogen Hub proposal.

Analysis shows those sectors are the most important for California and thus have priority. However, if a compelling project meets the various vetting criteria, it will be considered. We especially encourage projects that will serve as demonstrations or provide key infrastructure for other emerging hydrogen sectors and markets.

Any entity, whether single or a team, can propose a project.

Any preliminary life-cycle or similar assessment that quantifies the carbon emissions of the proposed project is acceptable.

While being a startup is not a limitation, experience and readiness to perform the proposal work are critiera. Additionally, business plans with dedicated cost-share and higher TRL technology will receive preference, per the FOA and the vetting criteria.

ARCHES follows the TRL definitions in the DOE Technology Readiness Assessment Guide. In general, a TRL > 6 means a project has progressed past the pilot and demonstration stages and toward deployment of proven technologies.

Monitoring will be critical, but at this stage ARCHES seeks projects for producers, consumers, and/or infrastructure. However, we ask that you inform us about this innovation since understanding supporting technologies will be important during the rollout phase and we may seek to match you with other project providers.

R&D project cannot be funded with DOE Hydrogen Hub funds. However, ARCHES plans to work with interested parties, including private and public sources, to secure funding for R&D outside of this federal funding opportunity.

Award formats will depend on DOE guidelines but will likely be Subawards or CRADAs.

Individual projects need not budget for ARCHES support. ARCHES is planning to take a minimal fee from the total award for administration and management including DOE interactions, etc. In addition, there will be crosscut activities that will also be financially held at the ARCHES level.

ARCHES must submit a foreign waiver request, so you must include this participation in your project submission.

As the NDA is to protect both the project submission and ARCHES information deemed confidential, the signature of the American company is sufficient.

ARCHES does not require full sign-off by a campus’s Office of Contracts and Grants prior to submission. The proposal can be marked pending sign off with an expected date of completion. However, the information provided must be as accurate as possible.

Additional information on how to provide project information to ARCHES is available at this link.

Either format works if the page requirements and font (11 point, Calibri) and margins (1 in around) are followed.

ARCHES plans to establish a statewide registry to facilitate matchmaking among companies working in the California hydrogen ecosystem.

While ARCHES is not registered as a non-profit, it is operating as one as all members are non-profits.

ARCHES is acting as a non-profit LLC and is a non-federal entity. However, we expect that Buy America provisions will still apply to all grant subrecipients. ARCHES plans to establish a process for requesting waivers once the project vetting has been completed. Part of the vetting criteria addresses whether there is a commitment and opportunity to Buy America and manufacture preferentially in California, and if not then in the United States, especially as it impacts jobs and careers.

Yes, Phase 3 and 4 funding can still be granted if the project is selected for the hub proposal, ARCHES receives 100% of the DOE funding it requests for Phases 3 and 4, and DOE agrees. Note that funding received prior to Phase 3 project funding would not be available for this use, as the project would already be in Phase 3. Any private funds used for the project after the award and before DOE funds become available could be considered cost-share contingent on DOE approval.

“Funding requested” is the amount of funding each project requests from ARCHES (which can include federal, state, or other funds). Cost share amount refers to an organization’s contributions as cost share, which could come from multiple sources.

Spring: March 1 to May 31. Summer: June 1 to August 31. Fall: September 1-November 30. Winter: December 1-February 28 or 29.

There is no set maximum, as each project will be unique in terms of ARCHES participation, cost share amounts, team composition, and scope. The funding will be divided across many sectors because ARCHES is envisioned as a cross-cutting statewide initiative.

No attachments are allowed. All information must be included in the proposal and will count toward the page limit. For example, if you want to include an image, it must be in the proposal and not attached as a separate file. Selected projects eventually will need to provide attachments required by the FOA in future steps.

Yes. As stated by the FOA, Phase 4 will be project operation and monitoring.

Yes, please include your proposed contingency reserve in your total budget and detail it in your financial plan.