Text: S.2796 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (05/12/2006)


109th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2796


To authorize the Secretary of Energy to establish monetary prizes for achievements in overcoming scientific and technical barriers associated with hydrogen energy.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 12, 2006

Mr. Graham (for himself and Mr. Dorgan) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To authorize the Secretary of Energy to establish monetary prizes for achievements in overcoming scientific and technical barriers associated with hydrogen energy.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “H-Prize Act of 2006”.

SEC. 2. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) ADMINISTERING ENTITY.—The term “administering entity” means the entity with which the Secretary enters into an agreement under section 3(c).

(2) DEPARTMENT.—The term “Department” means the Department of Energy.

(3) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Energy.

SEC. 3. Prize authority.

(a) In General.—The Secretary shall carry out a program to competitively award cash prizes only in conformity with this Act to advance the research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of hydrogen energy technologies.

(b) Advertising and Solicitation of Competitors.—

(1) ADVERTISING.—The Secretary shall widely advertise prize competitions to encourage broad participation, including participation by—

(A) individuals;

(B) institutions of higher education, including historically Black colleges and universities and other institutions serving minorities; and

(C) large and small businesses, including businesses owned or controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged persons.

(2) ANNOUNCEMENT THROUGH FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall announce each prize competition by publishing a notice in the Federal Register.

(B) REQUIREMENTS.—The notice shall include a description of—

(i) the subject of the competition;

(ii) the duration of the competition;

(iii) the eligibility requirements for participation in the competition;

(iv) the process for participants to register for the competition;

(v) the amount of the prize; and

(vi) the criteria for awarding the prize.

(c) Administering the Competitions.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with a private, nonprofit entity to administer the prize competitions, subject to this Act.

(2) DUTIES.—The duties of the administering entity under the agreement shall include—

(A) advertising prize competitions and the results of the prize competitions;

(B) raising funds from private entities and individuals to pay for administrative costs and contribute to cash prizes;

(C) working with the Secretary to develop the criteria for selecting winners in prize competitions, based on goals provided by the Secretary;

(D) determining, in consultation with the Secretary, the appropriate amount for each prize to be awarded;

(E) selecting judges in accordance with section 4(d), using criteria developed in consultation with the Secretary; and

(F) preventing the unauthorized use or disclosure of the intellectual property, trade secrets, and confidential business information of registered participants.

(d) Funding Sources.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Cash prizes under this Act shall consist of funds appropriated under section 8 and any funds provided by the administering entity for the cash prizes (including funds raised pursuant to subsection (c)(2)(B)).

(2) OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES.—The Secretary may accept funds from other Federal agencies for the cash prizes.

(3) NO SPECIAL CONSIDERATION.—The Secretary may not give any special consideration to any private sector entity or individual in return for a donation to the administering entity.

(e) Announcement of Prizes.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary may not issue a notice required by subsection (b)(2) until all the funds needed to pay out the announced amount of the prize have been appropriated or committed in writing by the administering entity.

(2) INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF PRIZE.—The Secretary may increase the amount of a prize after an initial announcement is made under subsection (b)(2) if—

(A) notice of the increase is provided in the same manner as the initial notice of the prize; and

(B) the funds needed to pay out the announced amount of the increase have been appropriated or committed in writing by the administering entity.

SEC. 4. Prize categories.

(a) Categories.—The Secretary shall establish prizes for—

(1) advancements in components or systems related to—

(A) hydrogen production;

(B) hydrogen storage;

(C) hydrogen distribution; and

(D) hydrogen utilization;

(2) prototypes of hydrogen-powered vehicles or other hydrogen-based products that best meet or exceed objective performance criteria, such as completion of a race over a certain distance or terrain or generation of energy at certain levels of efficiency; and

(3) transformational changes in technologies for the distribution or production of hydrogen that meet or exceed far-reaching objective criteria that—

(A) shall include minimal carbon emissions; and

(B) may include cost criteria designed to facilitate the eventual market success of a winning technology.

(b) Awards.—

(1) ADVANCEMENTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—To the extent permitted under section 3(e), the prizes authorized under subsection (a)(1) shall be awarded biennially to the most significant advance made in each of the 4 subcategories described in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of subsection (a)(1) since the submission deadline of the previous prize competition in the same category under subsection (a)(1) or the date of enactment of this Act, whichever is later, unless no such advance is significant enough to merit an award.

(B) MAXIMUM AMOUNT FOR SINGLE PRIZE.—No single prize described in subparagraph (A) may exceed $1,000,000.

(C) INSUFFICIENT TOTAL FUNDS.—If less than $4,000,000 is available for a prize competition under subsection (a)(1), the Secretary may—

(i) omit 1 or more subcategories;

(ii) reduce the amount of the prizes; or

(iii) not hold a prize competition.

(2) PROTOTYPES.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—To the extent permitted under section 3(e), prizes authorized under subsection (a)(2) shall be awarded biennially in alternate years from the prizes authorized under subsection (a)(1).

(B) TOTAL NUMBER OF PRIZES.—The Secretary may award no more than 1 prize under subsection (a)(1) in each 2-year period.

(C) MAXIMUM AMOUNT FOR SINGLE PRIZE.—No single prize under this paragraph may exceed $4,000,000.

(D) INSUFFICIENT QUALIFIED ENTRIES.—If no registered participant meets the objective performance criteria established pursuant to subsection (c) for a competition under this paragraph, the Secretary shall not award a prize.

(3) TRANSFORMATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—To the extent permitted under section 3(e), the Secretary shall announce 1 prize competition authorized under subsection (a)(3) as soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act.

(B) AMOUNT OF PRIZE.—A prize offered under this paragraph shall—

(i) be in an amount not less than $10,000,000;

(ii) be paid to the winner in a lump sum; and

(iii) include an additional amount paid to the winner as a match for each dollar of non-Federal funding raised by the winner for the hydrogen technology beginning on the date the winner was named.

(C) MATCHING.—

(i) IN GENERAL.—The match described in subparagraph (B)(iii) shall be provided until the earlier of—

(I) the date that is 3 years after the date the prize winner is named; or

(II) the date on which the full amount of the prize has been paid out.

(ii) ELECTION.—A prize winner may elect to have the match amount paid to another entity that is continuing the development of the winning technology.

(iii) RULES.—The Secretary shall announce the rules for receiving the match in the notice required by section 3(b)(2).

(D) REQUIREMENTS.—The Secretary shall award a prize under this paragraph only when a registered participant has met the objective criteria established for the prize pursuant to subsection (c) and announced pursuant to section 3(b)(2).

(E) TOTAL AMOUNT OF FUNDS.—

(i) FEDERAL FUNDS.—Not more than $10,000,000 in Federal funds may be used for the prize award under this paragraph.

(ii) MATCHING FUNDS.—As a condition of entering into an agreement under section 3(c), the administering entity shall seek to raise $40,000,000 in non-Federal funds toward the matching award under this paragraph.

(c) Criteria.—In establishing the criteria required by this Act, the Secretary shall consult with—

(1) the Hydrogen Technical and Fuel Cell Advisory Committee of the Department;

(2) other Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation; and

(3) private organizations, including professional societies, industry associations, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering.

(d) Judges.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For each prize competition, the Secretary shall assemble a panel of qualified judges to select the 1 or more winners on the basis of the criteria established under subsection (c).

(2) INCLUSIONS.—Judges for each prize competition shall include individuals from outside the Department, including from the private sector.

(3) PROHIBITIONS.—A judge may not—

(A) have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of, any entity that is a registered participant in the prize competition for which the judge will serve as a judge; or

(B) have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is a registered participant in the prize competition for which the judge will serve as a judge.

SEC. 5. Eligibility.

To be eligible to win a prize under this Act, an individual or entity—

(1) shall have complied with all the requirements in accordance with the Federal Register notice required under section 3(b)(2);

(2) in the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States;

(3) in the case of an individual (whether participating singly or in a group), shall be a citizen of, or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in, the United States; and

(4) shall not be a Federal entity, a Federal employee acting within the scope of employment, or an employee of a national laboratory acting within the scope of employment.

SEC. 6. Intellectual property.

(a) In general.—Subject to subsection (b), the Federal Government shall not, by virtue of offering or awarding a prize under this Act, be entitled to any intellectual property rights derived as a consequence of, or direct relation to, the participation by a registered participant in a competition authorized by this Act.

(b) Negotiation of licenses permitted.—This section does not prevent the Federal Government from negotiating a license for the use of intellectual property developed for a prize competition under this Act.

SEC. 7. Liability.

(a) Waiver of Liability.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—As a condition of participation in a competition under this Act, the Secretary may require registered participants to waive claims against the Federal Government and the administering entity (except claims for willful misconduct) for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits arising from the participation of the registered participants in a competition under this Act.

(2) NOTICE REQUIRED.—The Secretary shall provide notice of any waiver required under this subsection in the notice required by section 3(b)(2).

(3) PROHIBITION.—The Secretary may not require a registered participant to waive claims against the administering entity arising out of the unauthorized use or disclosure by the administering entity of the intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential business information of the registered participant.

(b) Liability Insurance.—

(1) REQUIREMENTS.—As a condition of participation in a competition under this Act, a registered participant shall be required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility, in amounts determined by the Secretary, for claims by—

(A) a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage or loss resulting from an activity carried out in connection with participation in a competition under this Act; and

(B) the Federal Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from such an activity.

(2) FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INSURED.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Federal Government shall be named as an additional insured under the insurance policy of a registered participant required under paragraph (1)(A).

(B) MANDATORY INDEMNIFICATION.—As a condition of participation in a competition under this Act, a registered participant shall be required to agree to indemnify the Federal Government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to competition activities.

SEC. 8. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) Authorization of Appropriations.—

(1) AWARDS.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this Act for the period of fiscal years 2007 through 2016—

(A) $20,000,000 for awards described in section 4(a)(1);

(B) $20,000,000 for awards described in section 4(a)(2); and

(C) $10,000,000 for the award described in section 4(a)(3).

(2) ADMINISTRATION.—In addition to the amounts authorized in paragraph (1), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for the administrative costs of carrying out this Act $2,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2016.

(b) Carryover of funds.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Funds appropriated for prize awards under this Act—

(A) shall remain available until expended; and

(B) may be transferred, reprogrammed, or expended for other purposes only after the expiration of 10 fiscal years after the fiscal year for which the funds were originally appropriated.

(2) RELATION TO OTHER LAW.—No provision in this Act permits obligation or payment of funds in violation of section 1341 of title 31, United States Code (commonly known as the “Anti-Deficiency Act”).

SEC. 9. Maintenance of effort.

The Secretary shall ensure that funds provided under this Act will be used only to supplement, and not to supplant, Federal research and development programs.

SEC. 10. Sunset.

The authority provided by this Act shall terminate on September 30, 2017.