Energy Commission Awards More Than $5.5 Million to Support Green Transportation

Funded Projects Include Biofuels Production and Vehicle Buy-Downs

The California Energy Commission today approved $5,580,773 for clean-energy transportation projects ranging from producing biofuels to making trucks run cleaner.

“These investments are moving the state forward toward a clean transportation sector,” said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. “Today’s awards will help to expand renewable biofuels, further the development of zero emission vehicles, and provide incentives to make alternative fuel vehicles more affordable. These projects protect the environment and public health, while keeping California in the lead in developing green transportation technologies.”

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.

These awards also assist in fulfilling Governor Brown’s executive order directing state government to support the rapid commercialization of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in California, with a 2025 target of having 1.5 million ZEVs on the state’s roads. The order also requires the installation of sufficient infrastructure to support 1 million ZEVs in California by 2020.

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 award recipients are:

Buster Biofuels, LLC, based in the San Diego area, will receive $2,641,723 to convert a 7,300 square foot industrial warehouse building into a biodiesel manufacturing and fueling facility. The facility will create biodiesel from renewable waste-based materials such as used cooking oil from restaurants. The chemical process used separates the glycerin from fats or oils, leaving biodiesel and glycerin. Glycerin can be used in the production of soaps, cosmetics and other products. The biodiesel is typically blended with petroleum diesel, and can be used in place of conventional diesel, usually with no modifications to the vehicle. Besides being renewable, biodiesel produces fewer greenhouse gases than conventional fossil-fuel diesel. The facility is slated to produce nearly 5 million gallons of transportation fuel per year. Its benefits include the reduction of an estimated 32,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually – roughly equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions produced by 5,850 gasoline vehicles in a year.

Motiv Power Systems, Inc., based in Foster City (San Mateo County), will receive $2,379,050 to establish a pilot production line capable of assembling 20 Motiv Electric Power Control Systems a month. Each system is comprised of electronic components that can be used with a variety of batteries and motors and installed on conventional medium- and heavy-duty chassis, modifying them into all-electric battery operated vehicles that have no tailpipe emissions. Currently, these powertrains are primarily installed in shuttle buses and delivery trucks.

In addition, buy-down incentives totaling $560,000 were approved for 35 alternative-fuel propane vehicles. These incentives help to pay the difference between alternative-fuel vehicles and conventional vehicles. They are available only for new natural gas and propane vehicles that meet all California Air Resources Board emission requirements.

These buy-down incentives are reserved for vehicle manufacturers or their designated dealers and passed on to buyers in California at the time of sale. To receive the incentives, buyers must agree to register and operate the vehicles in California at least 90 percent of the time for three years.

The incentives approved today will be awarded to the following companies:

A-Z Bus Sales in Colton (San Bernardino County) will receive a total of $500,000 for the buy-down of 25 propane school buses of 14,001 pounds and greater gross vehicle weight.

Big Valley Ford, Inc., in Stockton (San Joaquin County) will receive $36,000 for the buy-down of six propane light to medium duty vehicles of 8,501 to 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

Trans West Truck Center in Fontana (San Bernardino County) will receive $24,000 for the buy-down of four light to medium duty propane vehicles of 8,501 to 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

The California Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state’s appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

Source: California Energy Commission

For more information on: California Energy Commission