On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board announced the names of forty projects that have won grant money to encourage the early adoption of alternative fuels in California.
As part of ARB’s 2006-2007 budget, the California Legislature tagged $25 million for the purposes of encouraging the use of biofuels and high efficiency, low emitting vehicle technology. The intent of the Legislature was that these funds be used by projects that would reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by using the benefits inherent in alternative fuels.
By encouraging the general public to accept and prepare for alternative fuels we accelerate the transition to advanced technologies and minimize the environmental and health burdens associated with energy consuming products. Any action that reduces emissions, diversifies energy sources, and educates the public of the benefits of alternative fuels is a boon to the quality of life in California and is by extension a liberating force for the rest of the world.—Dr. Robert Sawyer, ARB Chairman
Applications were considered in the following categories:
Category A: Infrastructure for dispensing E85 and potentially other alternative fuels ($6 million). Nine of the ten projects awarded funding were for E85, B99 or CNG fuels. ARB will also provide partial funding to construct and/or refurbish six electric vehicle charging stations at existing PG&E facilities in San Francisco, Davis, Fresno, Vallejo, San Carlos, and Vacaville.
Category B: Startup of small biofuels production facilities ($5.4 million). Six of the ten projects awarded funding are for small biodiesel plants; two are to convert landfill gas to liquefied natural gas; and two are for the use of cow manure for fuel and power generation.
Category C: Hybrid electric vehicle demonstration projects ($5 million). Seven projects will received funding. Within this category, $1.1 million goes to the California Clean Mobility Partnership at the University of California, Berkeley and Irvine to provide a technical assessment and early market analysis of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and advanced technology partial zero emission vehicles (AT PZEVs).
The project will also include an evaluation of the challenges of certifying hybrids and PHEVs under current regulations, make recommendations for changes to existing protocols, will carry out a technical evaluation of plug in hybrids, and will provide an analysis of the utility-grid interaction with plug-in hybrids.
EPRI will receive $344,000 to independently verify the performance claims for several new battery technologies, in particular, the lithium-titanate batteries from Altairnano; lithium-ion batteries from Saft/JCI; lithium iron phosphate batteries from A123Systems, Valence and LTC (GAIA); and nickel metal hydride batteries from Panasonic, EV, and Cobasys.
The overall objective of the EPRI work is to determine the performance of the various battery technologies and to assess their state of commercial readiness for application in Plug-in HEVs.
A project to develop a medium-duty PHEV drive system based on Eaton’s commercial hybrid technology for commercial vehicles, integrate this system in to five prototype vehicles, and test/ demonstrate these vehicles in utility and public fleets will receive $1.2 million. Deliverables funded would include; two PHEV F550 Trouble Trucks for demonstration at Pacific Gas & Electric and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and a gasoline PHEV E450 Shuttle Bus for ARB testing and demonstration.
Tesla Motors was also the recipient of one of the awards in this category, receiving $561,000 to develop a UL-compliant, weatherproof medium-power (16 kilowatt), level 2+ commercial electric vehicle charging station that is equipped with Tesla’s ACE connector. Subsequent initial deployment of these charging stations will be at hotel chains throughout California.
Category D: Transit bus projects ($2 million). Two fuel-cell bus projects received the funding in this category.
Category E: Incentives for PZEVs and ZEVs ($1.5 million). The San Diego Regional Energy Office will work with ARB staff to finalize vehicle incentive program guidelines, stipulating applicant and vehicle eligibility, and then disseminate the funds.
Category F: Funding for consumer education and outreach ($1.6 million). Four porjects received funding.
Category R: Alternative fuel vehicle research ($3.3 million). Six projects received funding in thie category. UC Irvine and project partners will receive $1.05 million to evaluate the challenges of PHEV certification under the current hybrid certification guidance and regulations. This project will define appropriate duty cycles to evaluate PHEVs, define all-electric range or blended modes for PHEVs, identify instrumentation and testing protocols, evaluate factors that influence transient criteria pollutants from either cold catalyst or saturated evaporative emissions captured by charcoal canisters under all-electric modes, evaluate technical attributes of PHEVs and evaluate certification testing based on protocols developed under this program. This project will also procure a variety of vehicles for testing and equipment to carry out alternative fuel vehicle testing.
The College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) at the University of California will receive almost $1.7 million to assess emissions resulting form the use of biodiesel, with a particular focus on NOx formation.
A multi-state agency team comprised of the ARB, CEC, State Water Resources Control Board, Integrated Waste Management Board, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Department of Forestry, and other agencies reviewed the proposals and provided recommendations for grants winners in April 2007.
ARB staff received 208 responses by the deadline on March 19, 2007. The total requested by these applications was $160 million. Staff considered the applicants project cost, timing, alternative fuels usage, complementary funding source, and completeness of the application in making their decisions. Awards will be made in late May and June 2007.