RFP to Evaluate Performance, Durability, and Service Life of Low Pressure, Propane Vapor Regulators


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Request for Proposals to Evaluate Performance, Durability, and Service Life of Low Pressure, Propane Vapor Regulators
April 5, 2004

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 to Evaluate Service Life of Low Pressure, Propane Vapor Regulators." This project would evaluate issues related to regulator service-life.

Project Background
Equipment manufacturers, distributors, and individuals that also provide natural gas services, have reported at propane industry technical meetings that the natural gas industry uses low-pressure regulators effectively in field service for 30+ years. Yet in the propane industry, regulator manufacturers provide regulators that have limited field evaluation capability and regularly carry a 15-year replacement recommendation.

While two propane regulator manufacturers have recently extended the service-life recommendation of some propane regulators, PERC is interested in determining whether there is scientific or engineering support for the 15-year replacement recommendation, as well as for the recently extended service life recommendation for some models.

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 scientific and engineering evidence regarding the current service life recommendations published by the manufacturers of low-pressure vapor regulators for the propane industry.

This project is focused on residential and industrial/commercial vapor regulators. The project and evaluations should examine catastrophic failure modes resulting in potential safety problems.

  • Collect and review current US, European, Australian, and Japanese propane regulator manufacturer’s catalogs, technical bulletins, instructions, safety literature, and other related materials. Review and summarize all information on recommended service life and the basis for all service life recommendations.
  • Gather at least 400 propane 1st- and 2nd-stage regulators in the U.S. for detailed testing and analysis to determine whether they exhibit catastrophic failure modes that result in potential safety problems. Regulators of a wide variety of ages should be gathered, so that representative samples of regulators of different ages will be included in the study. In addition, the regulators gathered for the study should be drawn, on a representative basis, from different parts of the United States. If you believe that additional regulators 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 regulators that you propose to gather and test. Your proposal should describe the number of regulators that you propose to gather in each age category, as well as from each geographical location.
  • Include in your RFP response a recommended test plan including flow rates and pressures that would be representative of conditions that regulators would experience in the field. Tests should be designed to identify catastrophic failure modes resulting in potential safety problems. All regulators should be tested in accordance with the plan, and results of the tests should be recorded for each regulator that is tested.
  • Report and compare manufacturer recommendations on service life by regulator type and fuel for major manufacturers. Obtain copies of and evaluate all test data and other information offered by manufacturers in support of current recommendations regarding useful life and replacement of regulators. Include specifically any information, testing or other bases that support or do not support a 15-year replacement recommendation for regulators throughout the U.S.

The successful contractor will be intimately familiar with the propane industry, its codes, regulations, and common practices. The contractor must demonstrate and describe its ability to anticipate, coordinate, and carry out all aspects of the project. Primary qualifications include expertise and significant experience in information gathering, testing, engineering analysis, interpretation, and writing.

Other Requirements
Applicants are encouraged to follow the format of the five attachments of the PERC funding request form, which can be downloaded at http://www.propanecouncil.org/industry/fundingRequest.htm. Responding proposals must include the following administrative specifications:

  • The contractor will provide a detailed project timeline.
  • The contractor will submit a proposed budget covering the entire project period on a separate budget page. The proposed budget will provide a cost breakdown in sufficient detail by the following cost categories, where applicable:
    • Personnel
      • Wage rates, salaried rates, hourly rates, etc.
      • Briefly specify the duties of the professionals to be compensated under this project.
      • State the total amount of compensation for each position for the total project.
    • Fringe Benefits
      • Explain how the fringe benefit rate is computed and what base (i.e., labor costs or labor hours, or other) it is applied to.
    • Administrative
      • General and administrative overhead, facilities capital cost of money, etc.
    • Travel
    • Equipment
      • NOTE: Any proposed equipment will be carefully reviewed relative to the need and appropriateness for the proposed research.
    • Supplies
      • Itemize supplies as to the types, quantities, unit price, and total price.
    • Contractual
      • Describe the purpose of each sub-recipient/subcontractor and why they are required.
    • Other (must detail)
  • The contractor will include a description of the background and qualifications of all subject matter experts and individuals that would be performing the work.
  • The contractor will provide a client list and completed project list. Documented experience in producing and supporting a similar project is highly desired.


  • 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).
  • PERC, in its sole discretion, also reserves the right to not award to any contract on the proposals received.
  • PERC may request additional information from any offeror.
  • Neither this RFP nor the submission of any proposal creates any contract or obligation on the part of PERC.
  • Should PERC identify a proposal(s) suitable for award, the offeror(s) will be required to sign a written agreement for the services sought.
  • 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 the Research and Development Advisory Committee. Eligible applicants for this solicitation are profit organizations, not-for-profit institutions and organizations, educational institutions, and individuals.

Registration is a prerequisite to the submission of an application and applicants are encouraged to register their interest as soon as possible with Gregory M. Kerr, PERC’’s Director of Research and Development, e-mail: Gregory.Kerr@propanecouncil.org. Questions regarding this Request for Proposal must be transmitted electronically to the e-mail address of Mr. Kerr. Only questions and comments coordinated with Mr. Kerr will be considered and the relevant inquiries and answers will be posted publicly at http://research.propanecouncil.org/rfp.htm.
For copies of the following Council documents, please visit our web site at www.propanecouncil.org.
a) Fact Sheets b) Press Releases c) Propane Education and Research Act d) 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 gregory.kerr@propanecouncil.org. They are due at PERC’’s office no later than 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on May 3, 2004. A disk may also be mailed to:

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