The California Energy Commission announced the availability of up to $24 million in grant funds for the development of new, or the modification of existing, California-based biofuel production facilities that can sustainably produce low-carbon transportation fuels. (PON-13-609) Eligible biofuels are diesel substitutes, gasoline substitutes, and biomethane as defined in the solicitation.
The allocation of funds by fuel category is: Diesel Substitutes – $9.0 million; Gasoline Substitutes – $9.0 million; and Biomethane – $6.0 million. The Energy Commission will conduct two rounds of scoring. The first round of scoring will fund at least $4.027 million in passing projects; remaining funds will be applied to the second round of scoring.
All proposed projects must result in a biofuel with calculated carbon intensity below the California Air Resources Board (ARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) reference baselines for corn ethanol for gasoline substitutes (80.7 gCO2e/MJ), or soy biodiesel for diesel substitutes (83.25 gCO2e/MJ), as applicable. For the purposes of this solicitation, biomethane projects are stipulated as meeting this eligibility requirement.
Carbon intensities must be calculated using a method that conforms to the ARB’s LCFS.
Biofuels eligible for the solicitation include:
Diesel substitutes. These include renewable diesel, biodiesel, or other suitable substitutes, including Dimethyl Ether (DME). Eligible feedstocks for diesel substitutes include waste-based biomass or other biogenic by-products, and purpose grown crops.
Gasoline substitutes. These include ethanol, biobutanol, renewable gasoline, or other suitable substitutes. Eligible feedstocks for gasoline substitutes include waste-based biomass and alternative purpose-grown crops.
Biomethane. Eligible feedstocks for biomethane are pre-landfilled wastebased biomass sources including, but not limited to, agricultural residues, woody biomass and forest residues, animal manures, food waste, and MSW.
Corn grain is not an eligible feedstock; however, corn oil and corn stover are eligible. If municipal solid waste (MSW) is proposed as a feedstock, only the biogenic fraction of the waste stream is eligible.
Eligible projects must be in one of the two following development stages:
Stage 2: Pilot and Demonstration Facilities. This category includes projects that propose pilot and/or demonstration production facilities. This stage is characterized by proving a technology or process in the field, developing the first pilot or demonstration facility at a site specific location, product development, and developing markets for the technology. Minimum production of 50,000 gallons per year (gpy) is required.
Stage 3: Commercial Facilities. This stage is characterized by a production facility that can be scaled for revenue generation. Minimum production of 1.0 million gpy for liquid fuels, or 400,000 gpy for biomethane, is required.
To be eligible, applications must include a minimum 50% match share of the total allowable project costs. Funds from the Energy Commission (e.g., awards from other Energy Commission programs) cannot count towards the match share requirement.