California Energy Commission Funds Natural Gas Innovation Projects
The California Energy Commission approved almost $16 million in research grants to help develop the next generation of energy efficient technologies for commercial and residential buildings, $11 million for projects to convert feedstock and waste into biofuels and about $900,000 for natural gas innovations.
Natural gas projects were funded by the Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER), which provides funding for public interest energy research, development and demonstration projects. Recipients included:
- Quantitative BioSciences, Inc., San Diego – $150,000 to demonstrate a process that cleans biogas from wastewater treatment by passing it through oval “raceway” ponds that continuously circulate algae and water and leave purified biomethane that can be compressed and used as a transportation fuel.
- Otherlab, San Francisco – $145,000 to determine the feasibility of using spiral tubes made of braided fiber composite to create a low-profile gas tank that can free up cargo space and increase the driving range of compressed natural gas vehicles.
- Ascend Energy Systems, Shingle Springs – $146,000 to determine the feasibility of using a newly developed small solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that can utilize natural gas directly to generate electricity in an electric all-terrain vehicle. The new technology will increase efficiency compared to natural gas vehicles and decrease total emissions. It will also serve as a model for using SOFCs in larger hybrid on-road vehicles.