Under its statewide program dispersing more than $100 million annually, the California Energy Commission (CEC) Wednesday directed more than $44 million to boost the alternative transportation fuel sector. It included $18 million to expand hydrogen fueling for future fuel cell transportation and another $4.8 million for 19 natural gas and propane transportation projects.

Under the state Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which makes monthly distributions (see Daily GPI, May 27, 2011), the CEC made grants of $300,000 each for the development of six separate compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations, and a small grant for the development of a seventh CNG fueling stop.

Under its buy-down program to help pay the difference between natural gas vehicles (NGV) and diesel or gasoline-powered ones for fleet operators and dealers, the CEC provided four grants for NGVs and another eight for propane vehicles. The big winner was A-Z Bus Sales in Colton, CA, which will get more than $1.9 million in buy-down grants to cover 97 propane-powered school buses.

American Honda Motor Co. will get a grant of $198,000 for its development of 66 NGVs in the category of up to 8,500 pounds of gross vehicle weight. (For comparison, a Honda Civic weighs between 1,800 and 3,000 pounds.)

Greenkraft Inc. in Santa Ana, CA, was awarded more than $1.2 million, of which $400,000 is reserved for buying 20 NGVs in the 14,001-26,000 pound category. Greenkraft got another $884,000 for 34 NGVs above the 26,000-pound vehicle level.

Also in the above-26,000 pound vehicle category, both Grech Motors LLC in Riverside, CA, ($224,000 for seven NGVs) and Peterbilt Motors Co. with dealerships throughout California ($208,000 for eight NGVs) received CEC awards.

In the hydrogen sector, the $18 million in awards was divided among five public- and private-sector recipients: The South Coast Air Quality Management District ($6.6 million to evaluate, test and upgrade publicly accessible hydrogen fueling stations); Linde LLC ($4.5 million to install three hydrogen fueling stations in Northern California); Hydrogen Frontier Inc. ($3 million to build a 100% renewable hydrogen fueling station in Chino, CA); Air Products and Chemicals Inc. ($2.99 million to install two hydrogen fueling stations and to automate two trailer loading operations for transporting hydrogen for fueling from a Southern California production facility); and Air Liquide Industrial US LP ($1.5 million to build a hydrogen fueling station in Anaheim, CA).

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