PERC Issues Request for Proposals for Testing and Evaluation of Pressure Relief Valves on Propane Transport Vehicles, Bulk Tanks, and Customer Tanks


 Download PERC Issues Request for Proposals for Testing and Evaluation of Pressure Relief Valves on Propane Transport Vehicles, Bulk Tanks, and Customer Tanks 

General Information
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a non-profit 501(c) 6 trade organization authorized by the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996 (PERA), Public Law 104-284.  PERC was created “to enhance consumer and employee safety and training, to provide for research and development of clean and efficient propane utilization equipment, and to inform and educate the public about safety and other issues associated with the use of propane.”   This Request for Proposals (RFP) is not subject to any federal or state procurement law or regulation.

A 21-member Board of Directors appointed by the National Propane Gas Association and the Gas Processors Association governs PERC.  Members include propane retail marketers, producers, transporters, and agricultural cooperatives, as well as representatives of allied service and supply industries.

Proposals to Provide Services Sought
PERC is currently seeking bids from qualified contractors to provide the propane industry with a “Proposal for Testing and Evaluation of Pressure Relief Valves on Propane Transport Vehicles, Bulk Tanks, and Customer Tanks.” This project would evaluate potential issues related to Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) degradation in various service environments.

Project Background
Spurred by an incident in which the relief valve spring failed on a bulk transport truck, a product safety notice was issued by a manufacturer in October 2005 regarding the potential for damage to certain relief valves caused by their service environment.  In particular, the notice identified that the presence of atypical contaminants in the fuel may cause relief springs to break, adversely affecting system operation and reliability. Spring breakages can result in the unintended release of product and possibly result in personal injury, property damage, explosion, fire, or chemical contamination.

While there may be no incidents of this type of failure on stationary bulk storage tanks, there remains a concern that a similar situation could occur in the future.  Because of the potential safety issues, testing the effectiveness of different pressure relief valves exposed to varying concentrations of contaminants and different environments may be needed to better understand the phenomena and to identify measures that may prevent future occurrences.

Scope of Work
The scope of work for this project is set forth below. The deliverable for this project will be a detailed report outlining the test results for PRVs exposed to various service environments, and providing recommendations for improving relief valve performance.

This project is focused on PRVs for propane service on transport vehicles, bulk plant installations, and customer tanks. The project and evaluations should examine potential failure modes that could result in safety problems.

  1. •Your RFP response should include a task to develop a survey and compile the results of the survey that inquires about PRV problems experienced by propane marketers related to transport vehicles, bulk tank installations, and customer tanks.  The results from the survey should be compiled into a spreadsheet, or similar format, so that any trends in potential PRV failures can be identified.  The number of surveys to be submitted to the propane marketers and the approach should be suggested in the response to this RFP.
  2. All PRVs should be tested in accordance with the plan provided in Attachment A, and results of the tests should be recorded for each PRV that is tested. Vibration may also be a concern for PRVs installed on transport trucks; the bidder should take this into consideration in their response to this RFP. If you believe that additional tests or test modifications are necessary to accomplish the purposes outlined above, your RFP response should so state, and should identify the additional tests or modified tests that you propose to add to the protocol and reasons for doing so. Your proposal should describe the test protocol that you propose to use as well as reasons for modifying the approach suggested in this RFP.
  3. Your response to this RFP should include provisions to purchase from each manufacturer at least three PRVs used on propane transport trucks, bulk tank installations, and customer tanks for detailed testing to determine potential catastrophic failure modes that could result in safety problems.  If you believe that more or fewer PRVs should be gathered and tested in order to accomplish the purposes outlined above, your RFP response should so state, and should identify the number of PRVs that you propose to gather and test. Your proposal should describe the number of PRVs that you propose to gather for each manufacturer and type of PRV and justification for the sample size proposed.
  4. The winning bidder will be responsible for collecting the PRV test samples, procuring the control sample of propane, documenting the compositions of the control sample, creating the test gases, calibrating instrumentation, and completing the testing of all samples in an agreed-upon time frame.  Written monthly progress reports shall be submitted to PERC if the project is expected to require more than three months.  Allowance for at least one witness test by PERC representatives should be included.  The final report should include a description of the test methodology and equipment as well as the results for each PRV tested.  The data should be presented in such a way as to make it easy to compare the performance of the samples, and should be provided in hard copy and electronic format.  Calibration records for instrumentation should be kept according to good laboratory practices.

The successful contractor will be familiar with the LP Gas industry, its codes, regulations, and common practices used throughout the industry.  The contractor must demonstrate and describe its ability to anticipate, coordinate, and carry out all aspects of the project.   Project completion dates will be an important factor in selecting a contractor.  PERC anticipates the award date for the project to be December 7, 2007.  Eligible applicants for this solicitation are profit organizations, not-for-profit institutions and organizations, educational institutions, and individuals.

Other Requirements
Responding proposals must include the following specifications.  The specifications are derived from PERC’s funding request form.  The funding request form may be used and is available upon request.

  1. Statement of the Project
    • Background information about the project
    • Describe any prior projects upon which the proposed project is based or which had the similar goals and objectives as the proposed project
    • Goals, objectives, and anticipated results of the project and planned deliverables
    • Identification of essential personnel expected to participate in the project
    • Status of essential personnel as employee of the applicant, consultant, or contractor
  2. Timeline for the Project
    • Commencement date
    • Completion date
    • Key project stages and activities
    • Dates upon which deliverable(s) will be presented to Council
    • Final Report due date (due not more than 60 days from completion date)
  3. Budget and Statement of Costs
    • Specifically include direct costs, salaries, overhead and subcontractor costs, fees, and expenses
    • Statement of how much the applicant is contributing toward the cost of the project in cash, in-kind, and services
    • Detailed statement of other funding sources contacted or to be contacted, the expected amount of funding from each, the status of each application of funds, and any conditions placed upon the use of funds.  Proposals with matching grants will be looked upon more favorably than others
    • Budget to be broken down by task
  4. Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • An examination of the value(s) of all favorable effects (benefits) to safety, consumer awareness, and/or propane consumption relative to the amount of funding being requested
    • An assessment of the cost effectiveness of the proposed work (this is the ratio of cost per unit of desired results)
    • If applicable, a discussion of possible alternatives that could achieve similar purposes
  5. Evaluation Statement
    • The applicant’s Evaluation Statement should describe roles, responsibilities, performance measures, evaluation methodologies, and data sources.


  1. Given the various skill sets and requirements surrounding this RFP, PERC may divide the work between more than one vendor. In so doing, PERC may elect to designate one offeror as the general contractor and other(s) as sub-contractor(s).
  2. PERC, in its sole discretion, also reserves the right to not award to any contract on the proposals received.
  3. PERC may request additional information from any offeror.
  4. Neither this RFP nor the submission of any proposal creates any contract or obligation on the part of PERC.
  5. Should PERC identify a proposal(s) suitable for award, the offeror(s) will be required to sign a written agreement for the services sought.
  6. PERC will not accept any information in any proposal that is designated confidential or proprietary or contains confidential or proprietary information. PERC cannot and will not guarantee that should such information be submitted that it would be maintained as confidential. Should an offeror’s desire to submit proprietary or confidential information, they should contact PERC in advance to discuss whether and how such information may be effectively submitted.

Additional Information
Proposals will be subject to an objective merit review procedure of PERC’s Research and Development Advisory Committee.

Please send all questions regarding this request for proposals and your intentions to bid in writing via email to Greg Kerr at  For copies of the following PERC documents, please visit our website at

  • Fact Sheets
  • Press Releases
  • Propane Education and Research Act
  • Propane Vision and Technology Roadmap

Submitting Proposals
Proposals are required to be contained in a single file and must be sent in electronic PDF or Microsoft Word format to They are due at PERC’s office no later than 5 p.m. Eastern on October 12, 2007. A disk may also be mailed to:

Kaitlin Hoover, Director of Research and Development
Propane Education & Research Council
1140 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1075
Washington, DC 20036
202-452-8975 (phone)