The California Energy Commission approved $19 million in grants this week to help commercialize clean energy projects, ranging from longer duration battery storage, electrification of industrial processes, and reductions of water and energy costs at low-income residences.
On June 8, the CEC approved more than $8.3 million to three companies developing sustainable energy technologies as a means of helping them move beyond applied research. The funding under the agency’s Bringing Rapid Innovation Development to Green Energy program “is a bridge to the market,” said CEC Chair David Hochschild. He added that the projects focus on minor green energy technological improvements that are “very consequential.”
- Solid Energies Inc. was awarded $3 million to develop all-solid-state lithium-ion battery cells with higher power density for electric vehicles and energy storage. These batteries would help electric vehicle batteries achieve a longer life cycle. The company will use a novel polymer-composite-based solid-state electrolyte, innovative composite electrodes, and a silicon-based composite anode;
- Enzinc Inc. was awarded $1.8 million to scale the development of its zinc metal sponge anode and test it in a full battery cell and battery pack. The technology, if successful, will provide an alternative to lithium, which is getting more costly and difficult to import, and lead acid battery storage. Enzinc “has developed a zinc-based battery that combines the low cost and dependability of lead-acid batteries with the performance of lithium based batteries,” according to the CEC;
- Pyro-E, Inc. will get a $1.5 million grant to deploy an Auto Modulating Power Source device that will demonstrate water and battery cost savings across approximately 150 affordable housing units in Los Angeles. It will create up to 34% in savings from reducing water use and avoiding lithium battery replacements in the modulating power source device;
- Lookin, Inc. won a $1 million grant to produce a high-throughput terahertz scanner for quality control of battery electrodes to deliver high power batteries with a better shelf life; and
- Element 16 Technologies, Inc. will receive $1 million to enable the electrification of industrial processes with low-cost sulfur electric thermal energy storage. It will test the ability of molten sulfur thermal energy to store electricity and discharge heat for various industrial applications.
Another $3.6 million was approved for three grants that would incorporate information on extreme weather due to climate change into the state’s electricity system modeling in support of decarbonization targets set for 2030 and 2045. “We need to get smarter” on climate impacts on the electric system, Hochschild said.
The largest grant was $1.95 million to Energy & Environmental Economics to provide a foundation to assess and improve the climate resilience of California’s electricity system’s new datasets.
There were also two grants below the $1 million mark, including:
- $900,000 to Rock Analytics to develop data products and research on climate-related changes regarding the availability and distribution of solar, wind, and hydroelectric generation through the mid-century; and
- $750,000 to Eagle Rock Analytics to rebuild the Cal-Adapt’s web application to accommodate an increase in the volume of climate-related data.
In addition, two grants for a total $3 million were approved for the University of California Regents. One is for $2 million to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to improve the reporting of methane emissions from gas appliances in homes. Another $1 million is to U.C.L.A. to detect and better manage corrosion in natural gas pipelines.
Another $1.3 million is for two grants to produce hydrogen from biogas and biofuels. SoCalGas was awarded $750,000 to develop a low carbon hydrogen production system that is also cost-effective and scalable. Another $574,000 will go to Electro-Active Technologies Inc. to develop and advance a microbial electrolysis technology for the conversion of 100% renewable organic waste into low carbon hydrogen.
This week’s final award was $1.8 million to Arup US, Inc. for a three-year contract to lead a team of professional architects and engineers who will provide technical support for evaluating and implementing strategies to advance the decarbonization of residential and nonresidential buildings as a means to increase Energy Code compliance.