SAN JOSE, CA - The California Energy Commission approved eight grants to fund projects aimed at advancing the manufacture of electric vehicles and vehicle batteries, adding vehicle charging stations, and encouraging the use of biofuels. Among them is a grant to the City of San Jose to build and demo a new system that turns trash into natural gas that can be used as a transportation fuel.

The City of San Jose was awarded $1.9 million to build and demonstrate the system. The project team, which includes international biomass gasification specialists, will provide $4.2 million in matching 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.

The urban wood waste, yard waste, and other biosolids used to make the fuel will no longer have to be landfilled, generating additional savings. San Jose may also be able to sell excess heat and electricity created by the project.

The project is expected to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,600 tons of CO2 annually. Approximately 15 construction jobs will be created by the demonstration project, and the city is still determining how many full-time workers will be needed to operate the plant.

The grants leverage more than $9.6 million in state funding with $11.9 million in private funds. Information about other grant recipients can be found here.