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Pennsylvania Awards Axion Power $800,000 to Demonstrate PbC Batteries in Hybrids, PHEVs and EVs

The Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) program has awarded Axion Power International, Inc. an $800,000 grant to demonstrate Axion’s proprietary PbC battery technology (earlier post) in a variety of electric vehicle types including: hybrids (HEVs); plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs) used in commuter, delivery and other vehicles; and EVs , including converted (from combustion engine operation) EVs.

The PbC battery technology—multi-celled asymmetrically supercapacitive lead-acid-carbon hybrid batteries—replaces simple lead-based negative electrodes used by other manufacturers with activated carbon electrode assemblies and has significantly enhanced performance characteristics when compared with other advanced lead-acid batteries.

Those enhancements include deeper cycling, longer life, elimination of sulfation and shedding on the negative plate, lighter weight, and easier more rapid recharging capabilities.

The $800,000 ($799,932) first-year grant, which was announced by Governor Edward Rendell on 29 January, is part of the State’s overall effort to invest in businesses that are creating clean energy and biofuels technologies.

The newly announced AFIG grants totalled $6.5 million. Other awards (>$100,000) included:

  • Alloy Surfaces Co. Inc. $993,654 for development of a hydrogen plant module that is capable of producing fuel onboard a vehicle. The project is a collaboration between Alloy Surfaces Company, Inc. and Penn State University. The project includes a comprehensive analysis of the energy and emissions impact of the HPM and vehicle.

  • Ettline Foods Corp. $812,610 to retrofit two collection tank trucks to run on straight vegetable oil and for two storage tanks. The tankers will collect waste vegetable oil from 750 of Ettline’s customers and deliver it to a processor for conversion to SVO. The project will save more than 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually and avoid more than 495 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Middletown Biofuels LLC. $654,845 to demonstrate pretreatment of alternative biodiesel feedstocks using controlled flow cavitation technology. This will potentially lower production costs and improve grantee’s competitive position relative to out-of-state producers. The project will generate almost 4.6 million gallons of biodiesel annually, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 9,950 tons per year.

  • Thar Process Inc. $588,000 for a demonstration project to produce ethanol without distillation. The process uses pressurized propane to extract ethanol, potentially cutting production costs by one-third.

  • US Airways Inc. $321,680 to convert ground support equipment fleet at Philadelphia International Airport to run on electricity rather than fossil fuels. The project will save more than 91,000 gallons of fuel annually and avoid emissions almost 40,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

  • City of Philadelphia. $296,650 for rechargers for the electric ground support fleet at Philadelphia International Airport, in coordination with the US Airways project.

  • Philadelphia Academies, Inc. $267,100 for students of the West Philadelphia High School’s Academy of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering to participate in the Automotive X Prize Competition. The goals are to develop cost-effective designs that appreciably improve fuel efficiency while demonstrating the commercial production viability of alternative vehicles.

  • Temple University. $255,443 to develop an improved electric hybrid/ fuel cell vehicle capable of extended range and load.

  • East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. $176,900 to retrofit a 40-vehicle fleet with auxiliary idle reduction systems. The project will save over $234,960 in fuel costs annually and more than 52,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

  • Advance Materials Corp. $171,772 to develop high-efficiency motors and controllers for electric vehicles.

  • Energy Cooperative Association of Pennsylvania. $170,850 to buy down the incremental cost of 240,000 gallons biodiesel blended fuel for use by six municipalities and school districts.

  • Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities. $166,695 for biofuels storage and dispensation infrastructure to serve regional fleets.

  • Penn State University. $160,959 for students to develop a production-quality hybrid vehicle to compete in the national Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition. The PSU team will re-engineer a vehicle to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while retaining the vehicle’s performance and consumer appeal.

  • City of Philadelphia, Office of Fleet Management. $150,000 for 15 compressed natural gas-powered trash trucks to replace standard diesel trucks. The project will displace 190,000 gallons of petrodiesel fuel a year.

  • City of Philadelphia, Office of Fleet Management. $131,100 to buy down the incremental cost of biodiesel blended fuel. The project will displace the use of 500,000 gallons of petrodiesel.

  • Matson and Associates Inc. $120,000 to demonstrate the effectiveness of several catalysts in processing of alternative, lower-cost biodiesel feedstocks.



Tiny sums, but sometimes very capable people don't need that much money to demonstrate a good idea.

George Bush (the good one) was onto something with his 1000 points of light. The bad news is that we need 1,000,000 points of light. The good news is that we might actually get there.

Alex Kovnat

I looked through the items above.

The lead-acid battery/supercapacitor or "battacitor" is of interest and I hope it works out. But what caught my interest among the above items, was the idea of using straight vegatable oil as Diesel fuel. Normally, fatty acid triglycerides derived from biosources are reacted with methanol to make fatty acid methyl esters, which are the familiar "BioDiesel". But straight vegatable oils?

I look forward to seeing how that works out.


Too bad "W" blew out all the candles.


Alex, you don't have to wait; straight vegetable oil has been in use for years(about 100 actually, in fact Diesel originally invented his engine to run on it). The money Ettline Foods is getting isn't for research - it's for retrofitting. See here-
for info, or here-
for insights from someone who's actually used it.

Hell! it's even trendy: Daryl Hannah uses it in her car-


Vegetable oil as a fuel is only viable while very few people use it and restaraunts/processing plants have to pay to dispose of it.

Anyone care to guess how much a gallon of vegetable oil costs at your local grocer?

Anyone care to guess what percentage of US vehicles would occupy 100% utilization of all used cooking oil?
"As of 2000, the United States were producing in excess of 11 billion liters of waste vegetable oil annually,..."

Looks like it would only be sufficient to handle less than 1/3 of the 2 axle heavy duty trucks (non-passenger) or just over 10% of the combination trucks yearly consumption. It is only equal to 2% of the passenger vehicle fuel consumption. This of course requires all of the vegetable oil to be used as is without any processing to biodiesel.


9: "East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. $176,900 to retrofit a 40-vehicle fleet with auxiliary idle reduction systems. The project will save over $234,960 in fuel costs annually and more than 52,000 gallons of diesel fuel."

Dont get me wrong, It's great to see some money going towards (stimulation) all these alernatives after the siphon to the banking investment sector.
It is good that the message becomes get involved and we the people will support your efforts.
Eventually people will get the message that socially usefull actions are valued.
Rather than when youve stripped all our assets and laid waste we'll bail you out.

Why cant more ventures capable of turning a profit in one year as the example above states, find comercial funding?


Patrick, you say this like it is a bad thing!


Looks like it would only be sufficient to handle less than 1/3 of the 2 axle heavy duty trucks (non-passenger)


What you say is true, but only as far as it goes.

We don't have to limit ourselves to used cooking oil from restaurants as we can set up farms to grow more SVO directly and the cost of vegetable oil from your local grocer doesn't matter to your car any more than the cost of liquor(ethanol) does.

It is also true that America doesn't have enough land to grow all the SVO it would need with the current fleet but as SVO has a better ERoEI than ethanol you'd have more time to get the next generation of cars up and running.

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