SACRAMENTO, CA -- The California Energy Commission has approved more than $29 million for projects that advance biofuels and demonstrate California's commitment to develop cleaner transportation fuels. 

The seven awards total $29,675,072 and are funded through the commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (AB 118), completing the first two years of the program funding cycle.

"This is a major milestone for our program because it means we have awarded all $175 million from the first two years of the AB 118 program, plus another $14 million from the 2010-11 funding cycle," said Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd. "We have awarded more than 82 grants, public agency agreements and program support contracts totaling $189.4 million in AB 118 funding, leveraging more than $425 million in private match funding and creating or retaining about 5,600 jobs. "

These seven awards will infuse more than $44.5 million into the California renewable industry. Recipients estimate the awards will create or retain 616 construction, engineering and management jobs over the next three years. The proposed projects focus on reducing petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, providing jobs by advancing biofuel technology and installing alternative fuel infrastructure for fleets.

Here are the award recipients:

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District ($3,000,000 - match share $2,663,175) 
AC Transit will construct a new hydrogen bus fueling station in Oakland. At full demand, the station will be able to provide enough to fuel up to 12 buses, sufficient for operation of a full-day, 19-hour transit route shift. The fueling station operation will avoid 700 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, displacing 100,000 gallons of diesel gallons equivalent annually. The project is expected to create 20 temporary jobs during construction and two permanent station maintenance and operation jobs.

Biostar Systems ($3,372,314 - match share $3,372,314) 
BioStar Systems is partnering with Sonoma County Water Agency and Sonoma County Transit to produce 148,000 cubic feet per day of pipeline quality biomethane from dairy waste and food processor waste to support the Sonoma County Transit natural gas fleet. This facility will reduce waste transportation costs for Sonoma County's food industry by an estimated $120,000 per year and cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 35,200 tons per year. The project will also generate approximately 94 jobs over the life of the project, including manufacturing and construction jobs.

South Coast Air Quality Management District ($2,600,000 - match share $6,000,000) 
The South Coast Air Quality Management District and their numerous partners will install and upgrade 11 compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations throughout Southern California. Several fleets are committed to using these stations, including shuttle service companies, taxi companies, public transit agencies, school districts, waste hauling companies, city fleets, utility fleets and goods movement trucks. It is anticipated that more than 100 green jobs will be created or sustained through this project.

USA Waste of California ($489,040 - match share $1,051,021) 
USA Waste will upgrade a liquefied natural gas (LNG) station in the city of Corona (Riverside County) to add storage tanks, vaporizers and dispensers that will also add compressed natural gas (CNG) to their current LNG dispensing capabilities. LNG fuel reduces greenhouse gas emission by approximately 15 percent compared to diesel.

*CR&R Inc. ($4,520,501 - match share $18,166,460) 
CR&R estimates that this project planned for the city of Perris in Riverside County will produce 120,000 million BTUs of pipeline quality biomethane from nonrecyclable municipal waste using a two-stage anaerobic digestion process. This project would displace the equivalent of 865,000 gallons of diesel, enough to power 60 to 80 heavy duty trash recycling trucks, and reduce an estimated 57,740 tons of carbon dioxide between 2013 and 2020. The project would also create 100 construction jobs and eight permanent facility/operation jobs.

*Pixley Biogas ($4,672,798 - match share $4,910,925) 
Pixley Biogas intends to build an anaerobic digestion facility in the community of Pixley (Tulare County) that will process more than 36 million gallons of manure from three nearby dairies and produce biogas to be used at the adjacent Calgren Renewable Fuels ethanol biorefinery. The carbon dioxide reductions combined with the avoided manure emissions are estimated to be more than 31,000 metric tons per year - the equivalent to removing 6,300 vehicles from the road. This project should create 23 jobs during construction and an additional two full-time permanent jobs once the facility becomes operational. The project would also help retain nearly 18 jobs at its partner business, Calgren Renewables.

*High Mountain Fuels ($11,020,419 - match share $11,020,419). 
High Mountain Fuels intends to convert renewable landfill biomethane to liquefied natural gas for use as transportation fuel at the Simi Valley landfill facility in Ventura County. The project would demonstrate improved gas separation technology that uses new combinations of materials to provide better power efficiency and improved methane recovery than at other facilities. The project anticipates producing almost 6 million gallons of LNG each year to fuel the company's waste hauling trucks, displacing 3.4 million gallons of diesel fuel. High Mountain Fuels estimates this project will create or retain up to 300 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emission by more than 36,000 metric tons each year.

*The last three projects will be completed in two phases: administration/design (Phase 1) and construction/operation (Phase 2). The second phase will not begin unless the commission approves the second phase after completing a thorough environmental analysis of the project.