Energy Commission Pumps $35 Million Into California Green Transportation

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has unanimously approved funding of approximately $35 million to projects meant to accelerate the development of green fuels and technology in California.

‘These awards support a diversity of alternative fuel and vehicle types, including biodiesel production, natural gas vehicle technologies and incentives, and E85 fueling stations, which together provide a crucial boost to the development of clean energy transportation in the state,’ says Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman.

These awards are provided through the CEC's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The program, created by A.B.118, provides approximately $100 million annually to encourage the development and use of new vehicle technologies and alternative fuels to help the state fulfill its climate change policies.

The award recipients include the following:

CALSTART Inc. will receive approximately $14.5 million to demonstrate medium- and heavy-duty vehicles using advanced technology and alternative fuels. Altogether, 29 vehicles of nine different types will be used and evaluated, ranging from all-electric battery vehicles to hybrid diesel-electric work trucks, shuttle buses, and construction equipment.

Propel Biofuels Inc. will receive $10.1 million as a share of the cost to install 101 new E85 (ethanol) fueling facilities at existing gas fueling stations statewide. As there are currently just 51 publicly accessible E85 fueling stations in the state, the CEC says this project will greatly enlarge the network of stations that can serve the approximately 500,000 flex fuel vehicles in California.

SacPort Biofuels Corp. will receive $5 million to develop, build and test a pilot facility to demonstrate a new gasification process to produce renewable biomass diesel from local municipal solid waste. Annually, the facility is slated to eventually produce 365,000 gallons of renewable diesel fuel that will be blended with conventional diesel, the CEC says. The project, located at the Port of West Sacramento, is also expected to create 20 permanent jobs and an additional 30 during construction.

Gas Technology Institute, a nonprofit energy research and development organization, will receive approximately $4.6 million for two projects: a demonstration project of three plug-in hybrid trucks, in partnership with US Hybrid Corp., and a demonstration project of a natural gas version of the heavy-duty Navistar MaxxForce 13 diesel engine, in partnership with Clean Air Power.

Springboard Biodiesel LLC will receive $758,200 to develop and build a pilot biodiesel production facility in Chico, where Springboard is based. The facility is expected to provide low-cost biodiesel in rural northern California, which currently lacks such fuel options. According to the CEC, used cooking oil and other waste material will be diverted from landfills and used to produce up to 1,000 gallons of biodiesel a day.

Whole Energy Pacifica LLC will receive $125,274 to design, build and install a fuel-blending system at an existing biodiesel terminal in Richmond.

Reynolds Buick-GMC will receive a buy-down incentive of $16,000 for two natural gas-fueled medium-duty vehicles. To receive an incentive, purchasers must agree to register the vehicles in California and operate them in the state for three years using the designated alternative fuel at least 90% of the time.

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