Energy Commission Issues Over $13 M in Grants

By Published On: September 11, 2014

The California Energy Commission this week approved $8 million in financial support to California biofuel companies to sustainably produce low-carbon transportation fuels. An additional $5 million-plus was awarded during the meeting to companies that engage in natural gas technology development. Under actions approved by the commission during its Sept. 10 meeting, AltAir Fuels, a Los Angeles area-based company, is to receive a $5 million grant to expand production of renewable diesel fuels at its facility and allow for processing of additional feedstocks. The main feedstock is an oilseed called camelina. The proposed project will retrofit three additional tanks—feedstock and finished renewable diesel tanks—and the associated infrastructure necessary to achieve a 40 million gallon/year production goal, up from 30 million gallons. The planned expansion is expected to allow for future expansion to 150 million gallon annual production volumes by 2017. The other biofuels production grant went to Pixley, California-based Calgren Renewable Fuels. It received a $3 million grant to develop a program that expands the reliable supply of grain sorghum feedstock for in-state production of low carbon intensity transportation fuel. The money for the grants comes from the Energy Commission’s Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology Program. It is a competitive grant program that provides funds toward new transportation and fuel technologies that can help California meet its energy, clean air, and climate-change goals. Also during the meeting, the Commission approved about $5.3 million in grants for the development of natural gas technology. The Energy Commission sought proposals for the research and demonstration of emerging energy efficiency technologies, as well as improvements to processes and operations that reduce natural gas use, improve indoor environmental quality in buildings, and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides associated with using natural gas-burning systems. Seven grants were given out, with the lion’s share—$1.25 million—going to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to conduct a field study of indoor air quality. Specifically, the lab’s attempting to determine how recent versions of Title 24 have impacted indoor air quality in new California homes with natural gas appliances, and wants to evaluate how to provide adequate ventilation and air quality while reducing energy use. Additionally, California-based engineering consulting firm Fisher-Nickel received a $909,515 grant to demonstrate a suite of high-efficiency commercial food service equipment and monitor energy consumption. The Energy Commission said results from the project could potentially support the use of high-efficiency cooking equipment in commercial facilities. Additionally during the meeting, the Commission cancelled a contract with Leyden Energy under which the Fremont-based company had received a nearly $3 million grant to develop and test a new lithium ion battery technology and verify production and assembly processes of the new batteries for use in electric vehicles. The contract was “terminated with cause” according to the Energy Commission, because Leyden was forced to sell some of its company assets that were necessary to its agreement with the Energy Commission.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now