CEC awards grants for biodiesel projects

By Bryan Sims | October 25, 2010
The California Energy Commission has approved eight grants that leveraged more than $9.6 million in state funding and $11.9 million in private funds to advance the manufacture of electric vehicles and vehicle batteries, add vehicle charging stations, and to encourage the use and distribution of ethanol and biodiesel.

The two biodiesel projects that received funding to help accelerate production and consumption within the state include East Bay Municipal Utility District and Western States Oil.

East Bay Municipal Utility District received $1 million to make an estimated 300,000 gallons of biodiesel annually at its existing wastewater treatment plant in Oakland. The process will utilize waste fats, oils and grease as feedstock. For the research project, EBMUD and its project team will provide $1,575,000 in matching funds to construct a facility to receive feedstock and install two 30,000-gallon storage tanks. Since lighter fats and oils are well suited to become biofuels, but heavy greases such as brown grease are challenging to convert, EBMUD aims to test improved ways to harvest the heavy greases and to reduce the sulfur content of its biodiesel.

Western States Oil Co. was awarded $69,233 to convert an existing 8,000-gallon retail tank used for premium gasoline into one that can dispense wholesale biodiesel. Because the tank is immediately adjacent to a Kinder Morgan pipeline terminal in San Jose, delivery trucks leaving the terminal will be able to easily access the biofuel. The wholesale tank will contain B99 blends, which will be mixed in a truck or trailer truck to make blends of B5, B20 and up to B99. The project is expected to lower the price of biodiesel by reducing the cost of distribution in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area. By displacing petroleum-based diesel, the 5.25 million gallons of biodiesel the new facility can blend and distribute each year will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 32,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Western States Oil will provide funding of at least $217,380 in matching funds.

"Three years ago California crafted innovative legislation that is paying dividends in groundbreaking advances in transportation," said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert.

Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created as a result of the grant-funded projects, while also helping the state reduce its petroleum use and pollution emissions.

"Partnerships between government and the private sector are encouraging new industries that can rebuild California's manufacturing base," Eggert said. "The projects the Commission approved will improve California's economy and its environment by fostering green, clean advancements in transportation."
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