California Backs Alt Fuels, And You Can Thank Arnie For It

The Governator’s legacy lives on.

In 2007, Arnold Schwarzenegger – one of the last of that dwindling species, G. (for green) Republicanus — signed into law Assembly Bill 118. Among other things, it put into place the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which provides around $120 million annually “to develop and deploy clean, efficient, and low-carbon alternative fuels and technologies.”

california energy commission, clean world partners

image via Clean World Partners

A new round of funding came down the pike earlier this month, with the California Energy Commission handing out $23,110,015 in grants, spread among 15 companies, institutions and projects. The grantees are a diverse lot, but two things stand out in looking over the list: The commission likes biofuels, and it isn’t afraid of getting a scientific check on its activities.

Heading the list of grantees was Clean World Partners, a company that found its way into our pages just a few months ago when it unveiled the first commercial application of an anaerobic phased digester system that turns waste to biogas and fertilizer.

The system, invented by UC Davis scientist Ruihong Zhang, can plow through 25 tons of waste a day right now; with help from $6 million in new funding, that capacity will jump to 100 tons, producing “enough renewable natural gas to replace 566,000 gallons of diesel fuel and generate 3.17 million kWh of electricity every year,” the commission said.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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