SACRAMENTO – Increasing clean transportation options throughout the state, the California Energy Commission Feb.13 approved $17 million for a wide range of projects.
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“These awards are helping to support the expansion of alternative fuels and zero-emission vehicles in California,” said Energy Commission Chairman Robert B. Weisenmiller. “Additionally, the funded projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants to protect our environment and improve the health of all Californians.”
The awards were made through the commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118. The program, which is essential to fulfilling the state’s pioneering climate-change policies, is slated to invest approximately $90 million during this fiscal year to develop new transportation technologies, as well as alternative and renewable fuels. It is paid for through surcharges on vehicle and boating registrations, and smog check and license plate fees.
The state’s investments in these projects are safeguarded by matching fund requirements for awardees, and by making payments on a reimbursement basis after invoices are submitted.
The eight award recipients are:
Eslinger Biodiesel, Inc., will receive $6 million to build a commercial biodiesel production facility in Fresno. The first phase of this $32 million refinery is slated to be operating within a year of funding, producing 5 million gallons a year of biodiesel made from waste vegetable oils obtained from restaurants and commercial food producers, and animal fats obtained from rendering operations.
Eventual production of biodiesel is expected to be 45 million gallons a year. The output will be shipped by pipeline to commercial blending facilities and is slated to be pre-sold to companies obligated to purchase carbon credit offsets. In addition to high-quality biodiesel, the plant will produce pharmaceutical and technical grade glycerin. Pipeline transport of fuel and waterless processing will result in near-zero production emissions at the facility.
CALSTART Inc., will receive $3.5 million to extend and expand the California CLEAN Truck Demonstration Program. The additional funding will cover demonstration projects of battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric and range-extended hybrid electric/natural gas heavy-duty drayage trucks operating at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. These trucks will displace conventional diesel trucks, which consume substantial quantities of petroleum fuel and emit substantial pollutants and greenhouse gases. This project is expected to create more than 400 jobs by 2015, as well as demonstrating the feasibility of alternative fuel medium- and heavy-duty work vehicles. CALSTART is headquartered in Pasadena.
Blue Line Transfer Inc., will receive $2.6 million to build an anaerobic digestion facility in South San Francisco. This facility is slated to convert 9,000 tons per year of food and plant waste into biomethane that will be used to produce compressed natural gas for a fleet of five refuse and recycling collection vehicles. The fuel produced will be enough to replace 56,000 gallons of conventional diesel. The project is expected to create three permanent full-time jobs. Blue Line Transfer is based in South San Francisco.
Aerovironment Inc. will receive $2.1 million for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging equipment. The goal is to expand the statewide network of vehicle charging stations, to collect and analyze data to determine economic and environmental impacts, and to reduce emissions. Of this funding, $2 million will provide 770 residential Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations in both single family and multi-unit residences throughout California.
In addition, $150,000 is slated to supply and install four wireless-enabled Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations in San Diego; two at YMCA locations and two at apartment buildings. These four chargers will serve customers of Car2Go, an electric vehicle car-share program. AeroVironment is based in Monrovia.
Level 2 electric vehicle charging systems are expected to become the most commonly used charging systems. They use 208-240 volt power and typically provide 10 to 20 miles of range for each hour of charging for a passenger vehicle. Level 1 charging systems use 110 volt power, commonly found in households, and typically provide tw to five miles of range for each hour of charging. DC fast-charging systems typically provide 60 to 80 miles of range in just 20 minutes of charging.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District will receive $1.8 million to facilitate the completion of a project to demonstrate a patented process developed at the Argonne National Laboratory to optimize the production of biomethane and reduce carbon dioxide from anaerobic digestion. The project will be demonstrated at the American River Packaging organic waste recycling facility in Natomas.
University of California, Irvine, will receive $765,000 to enhance the Spatially and Temporally Resolved Energy and Environment Tool (STREET), including Web-based user capabilities. The money is an augmentation to an existing Energy Commission award of $750,000, conferred in February 2010. Researchers at the university’s Advanced Power and Energy Program have developed the STREET computer model as a highly detailed and dynamic tool for alternative fuels planning, including selection of optimal locations for the development of fueling infrastructure.
Paso Robles Waste & Recycle will receive $300,000 to build a compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling station to serve a new fleet of CNG refuse haulers, as well as providing public fueling. CNG is much less polluting than conventional diesel. More than 50,000 gallons of conventional diesel fuel will be displaced by CNG annually by the five refuse trucks that will be initially used in the project. Once completed, the project is expected to create two permanent jobs.
City of Yucaipa will receive $75,000 to construct, operate and maintain eight Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations at three locations. Match funding of $18,511 will be provided by the city, located in San Bernardino County. Four of the charging stations will be installed at the city’s new police department, currently under construction. Two will be installed at the city’s community center, and two will be installed in the new Uptown Parking Lot. Six of the eight charging stations will be available to the public.