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California Energy Commission approves more than $5M for 475 more EV chargers; slate of other projects

The Energy Commission approved 15 grants totaling more than $5 million to install 475 electric vehicle chargers in communities throughout California, including the cities of San Francisco, Burbank, Torrance and San Diego and the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles. These grants are funded by the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP).

Further, to develop and demonstrate an advanced natural gas storage tank for light-duty vehicles, the Energy Commission approved a $1.2-million contract with BlackPak, Inc, funded by the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) natural gas program. BlackPak plans to build a storage system from carbon materials that will allow natural gas to be stored at a lower pressure. The system would reduce complexity and cost. The material can be easily formed into a range of shapes, allowing designers to integrate the storage system into a vehicle's design without sacrificing passenger space.

The award provides financial support to develop a prototype of the technology, building upon funding provided by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for early research and development. The Commission also approved PIER grants to develop natural gas plug-in hybrid vehicles to Transportation Power Inc., Efficient Drivetrains Inc., and Gas Technology Institute for $900,000 each.

The Energy Commission also approved $4.4 million in PIER grants for proposals demonstrating emerging energy efficiency technologies that are past the proof-of-concept stage and ready to be demonstrated in an industrial setting under real-world conditions. Grants include funds for:

  • A novel infrared technology for dry blanching fruits and vegetables on a commercial scale that is up to 40 percent more energy efficient compared to methods currently used to produce crisp fruit and vegetable snacks.

  • A filtration system for wastewater treatment that uses a chemical reaction instead of the current energy-intensive processes.

  • A combustion system that uses an energy-efficient low-swirl burner that can switch between natural gas, propane and biogas in real time—which could make use of biogas from small source generators economically viable.

Also approved at the business meeting:

  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System: A $2.3 million loan for South El Monte to install solar PV systems at city-owned facilities. Each year, the project is expected to produce a million kilowatts of electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the city approximately $135,000 in utility expenses. The loan is funded by the Energy Conservation Assistance Act.

  • Biodiesel: A $5 million ARFVTP grant was approved for Crimson Renewable Energy. The money will be used to upgrade equipment at its existing facility and increase biodiesel production from 17 million gallons to 22 million gallons a year.

  • Alternative Fuel Readiness Plans: The Commission also approved two more ARFVTP projects to help various regions of the State develop strategies for the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure. View all items that were on the June business meeting agenda.



Couldn't EV and H2 charging stations become private businesses and governments would buy common or preferred shares or provide loans or both instead of grants?


Compare the recent push to put a couple of dozen H2 stations in California for several times this price.


The U.S. has had a long history of enticing the private sector to do what the country needs done. Do you think that they would get 475 new chargers waiting for the private sector to decide if it is the most profitable investment?


Couldn't States and Countries deal with e-charger and H2 stations the same way as is done with cell phone frequency allocations...auction them to the most offering private bidders with appropriate compulsory installation and operation conditions?

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