For Immediate Release: November 2, 2011
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards Nearly $475,000 for Energy Research Projects

SACRAMENTO - Demonstrating its support of funding new pioneering technology, the California Energy Commission today awarded $474,157 for innovative research projects.

The projects funded are from Public Interest Energy Research program's Energy Innovations Small Grant program. The program provides money to small businesses, non-profits, individuals and academic institutions to conduct research that establishes the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts.

"The Energy Commission is encouraging growth in California's clean tech industry by supporting the development of new technologies," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller. "The return on this investment is tremendous - leveraging roughly $70 in post-grant dollars for every $1 invested."

These grants are capped at $95,000. The five projects approved were:

  • The University of California at Santa Barbara will receive $95,000 to study the feasibility of an automatically controlled tethered flexible wing system. These wings are able to reach much higher altitudes than wind turbines. When deployed in large-scale farms, these high-altitude wind energy generators will be able to produce electricity at a projected cost of about $20 per megawatt hours (MWh) in year 2030 compared to $34-$37 MWh for fossil sources.
  • Cool Earth Solar, Inc. of Livermore will receive $95,000 to prove the feasibility of a portable, low-cost meteorological station that uses off-the-shelf components and images captured on low-cost stationary cameras. The station will measure the amount of solar energy at the ground level, which is important for solar prospecting and for predicting the electrical output of solar energy systems.
  • AOS Solar Inc. of Torrance will receive $95,000 for a project to research converting carbon dioxide from power plant emissions into gaseous methane. The project would filter the emissions so that reusable methane and oxygen would be pulled out, while the remaining carbon dioxide byproduct would be collected for use in the power plant.
  • Jasper Ridge, LLC of Portola Valley will receive $95,000 to look at the viability of a new battery design and manufacturing process to help meet the needs of renewable energy and distributed electricity storage. It is based on low-cost and lead-acid battery chemistry and existing infrastructures to minimize cost, technical and market risk, which is critical for adoption in the energy storage markets.
  • Makel Engineering, Inc. of Chico will receive $94,157 to prove the feasibility of producing a low-cost fuel quality meter that would automatically monitor and adjust gas mixtures. The fuel quality meter would enable accurate control of combustion fuel flow in power generation systems that use low British Thermal Unit fuels such as biogas and landfill gas.

The Public Interest Energy Research program supports public interest research and development that helps improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products to the marketplace. For more information, visit

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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