California Grants Over $23 Million for Green Fuel Development

Written By Thomas Ponco on Friday, June 15, 2012 | 6:30 AM

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Published June 15, 2012

By Huw Evans

A total of $23,110,015 in funding has been approved by the California Energy Commission for use in developing alternative fuels for transportation.

The money has been awarded through the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by the passing of Bill 118 in the State Legislature.

In all, 15 different organizations and departments will receive money from the $23 million pot, which include the following:

• Clean World Partners, which gets $6 million to help boost capacity at the Sacramento BioRefinery, from 25 to 100 tons per day, thus enabling enough natural gas to be produced that’s the equivalent of 566,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

• EdeniQ Inc., allocated $3.9 million to modify an existing bio refinery so it can be used to produce cellulosic (non food based plant material) ethanol.

• The University of California, Davis campus, which will receive $2,770,072 to help research the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing alternative fuels in the Golden State. The research will be conducted at the university’s Institute of Transportation Studies, with findings to be used by the CEC to make informed decisions about the allocation of future funding for Bill 118 endorsed projects.

• The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which gets a total of $2,152,273 in order to access the effectiveness of the CEC’s Bill 118 related investments in alternative fuels and technology. This funding is designed to help the Commission track its progress on developments in alternative fuel technology and improving national energy security as well as enhancing the investment potential of Bill 118 related activities.

• Aemetis Inc., that receives $1,875, 528 for the purpose of developing an ethanol plant in the San Francisco area. This facility will produce fuel mixed with gasoline, from natural waste such as wheat straw, corn and sugar cane. The resulting product will be a lower carbon fuel, aimed at reducing emissions output of internal combustion engine vehicles.

• Kent BioFuel Energy, which has been allocated $1,496,426 in order to produce bio fuels using a fermentable sugar base, grown from algae biomass, in brackish water that is fed nutrients created from natural waste.

Smaller amounts, ranging from $200,000 to $600,000 will also be allocated to various entities for developing, or researching alternative fuels, namely bio fuels or natural gas. These include organizations as diverse as the City of Riverside, which will use the money to build a natural gas station at the city’s water control plant, the South Coast Air Quality Management district, which will use funds to open a natural gas fueling station and the Bear Valley Unified School District, which will receive a grant to also build a natural gas fuel station, though in this case, one that’s designed to fuel the district’s school buses.

Although fairly ambitious, the grants illustrate that bio fuels are clearly becoming a more important part in the quest to reduce emissions and reduce oil dependence in the Golden State, especially since they don’t require as significant a change or development in infrastructure, unlike other alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen.

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