The California Energy Commission has awarded more than $9.6 million in state funding to make components and biofuels required for manufacturing electric vehicles.

The $9.6 million project, which is funded from Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Transportation program, will reduce use of petroleum, cut pollution levels and provide jobs by advancing the manufacture of electric vehicles and vehicle batteries.

The project also involves setting up vehicle charging stations and encouraging use of biofuels, the commission said in a statement.

 Three years ago California crafted innovative legislation that is paying dividends in ground-breaking advances in transportation. Partnerships between government and the private sector are encouraging new industries that can rebuild California's manufacturing base. The projects that the Commission has approved will improve California's economy and its environment by fostering green, clean advancements in transportation, said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert.

Given below is a summary of the eight projects, their cost break-up and benefits:

Electric Vehicle manufacturing - Escondido based clean energy company TransPower has been awarded $1 million to study the feasibility of manufacturing large electric-drive trucks in or near San Pedro by 2013. Project partners will provide $1,000,000 to match the state grant. The goal is to ramp up production to 2,500 trucks by 2020, creating 1,500 high-paying jobs.

Electric vehicles components - San Francisco-based Mission Motor Company has been granted $505,381 to help it bring its prototype electric vehicle components to commercial production. Along with the Energy Commission grant, Mission Motor Company will provide matching funds of $623,581 to create an assembly facility in downtown San Francisco that should be capable of producing 30,000 battery packs and motor control systems each year by 2015, creating as many as 100 jobs.

Electric vehicles components - Leyden Energy, Inc. has been granted $2.96 million to help it create a production line capable of assembling its Lithium ion cells into 10 battery packs per month for its partner in the project, electric vehicle manufacturer Green Vehicles of Salinas.  The two companies will provide $2,963,000 to match the Energy Commission funding. The project will create 11 technical and production jobs immediately, with another 500 expected to be added at Leyden Energy's Fremont headquarters and at a future commercial-scale production facility planned for Salinas.

Natural gas-powered vehicle fueling - San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has been awarded $500,000 to help it speed up the refueling of its growing fleet of compressed natural gas-powered buses. The grant will allow the transit system to install larger, higher capacity fueling compressors that will cut in half the time needed to refuel a CNG bus at its South Bay Maintenance Facility.  

Biofuel production - Great Valley Energy LLC has been granted $1.98 million to test the feasibility in creating biofuel from a crop new to the Central Valley - sweet sorghum. Team partners will provide match funding of $2,000,270 to install a pilot sorghum separation and testing facility in Hanford. If the testing is successful, the team will consider building smaller-scale ethanol plants distributed across the valley to be close to the sorghum fields to lower transportation costs.  Each of the commercial refineries could create an additional 20 jobs. By 2020, Great Valley Energy estimates it could have 15 small dispersed plants, each capable of producing 3.15 million gallons of ethanol a year.

The city of San Jose has been awarded $1.90 million to build and demonstrate a new system that turns trash into natural gas that can be used as a transportation fuel. The project team, which includes international biomass gasification specialists, will provide $4.21 million in match funding to create a facility to produce methane at the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant. The resulting transportation fuel could save the City $450,000 a year by using natural gas in its vehicles, and the urban wood waste, yard waste and other biosolids used to make the fuel will no longer have to be land filled, generating additional savings

Biodiesel production - East Bay Municipal Utility District has been awarded $1 million to make an estimated 300,000 gallons of biodiesel each year at its existing wastewater treatment plant in Oakland. The process will utilize waste fats, oils and grease, a feedstock that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 88 percent compared to regular diesel - providing an important air quality improvement. If successful, the project also could provide an important revenue stream for wastewater treatment plants across the nation. California wastewater treatment facilities alone could produce as much as 60 million gallons of biodiesel a year, creating 150 to 300 permanent jobs in the process.

Western States Oil Company has been granted $69,233 Company to convert an existing, 8,000-gallon retail tank used for premium gasoline into one that can dispense wholesale biodiesel.