Small grant projects to study transportation, natural gas and electricity technologies

SACRAMENTO - Twelve innovative small-scale projects to conduct cutting-edge research that will reduce the cost of producing electricity, save energy and improve the environment were awarded funds by the California Energy Commission yesterday.

The research projects will receive grants of up to $95,000 each from the Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) Program, part of the Energy Commission's research and development work. The EISG Program builds on efforts to improve the quality of life in California by testing new ways to help environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products reach the marketplace.

Projects completed under the program have attracted follow-on research funds from other sources on a ratio of 53 to 1. As of 2013, $34 million in EISG awards has led to $1.8 billion in follow-on investment.

A total funding amount of $1,135,862 was approved at yesterday’s business meeting. The following small businesses, researchers, and energy entrepreneurs received the latest funding:

Nad Karim of DCBpower in Palo Alto (Santa Clara County) will receive $95,000 to research a dual chemistry battery system that has the potential to increase by 50 percent the range of electric vehicles over conventional fuel vehicles.

Hamid Mohsenian-Rad of University of California, Riverside will receive $95,000 to determine the optimum balance of active and reactive power in plug-in electric vehicles to achieve lower energy costs and improve power distribution networks.

Chan Park of University of California, Riverside will receive $94,407 to develop a fuel sensing technology for natural gas vehicles.The technology has the potential to help the state attain its clean air standards and increase adoption of natural gas vehicles in California through the development of new sources of renewable natural gas.

Vilupanur Ravi of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Los Angeles County) will receive $95,000 to identify the most effective catalyst materials to lower capital and operating costs of hydrogen production. The technology is designed to recover waste heat from residential hot water heaters and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Lee Huang of Eneron Inc. in Palo Alto (Santa Clara County) will receive $95,000 to research a gas stove burner that is 30 percent more efficient than conventional gas stove burners.

Matthew Summers of Summers Consulting LLC in Auburn (Placer County) will receive $95,000 to optimize biofuel production from organic waste through DNA and RNA molecular testing. The technology has the potential to save energy and help the state achieve its bioenergy goals.

Daniel Codd of San Diego will receive $95,000 to design, test and validate a new solar power receiver capable of collecting sunlight at high temperatures. The technology has the potential to increase the generation and efficiency of solar power in California.

Ron Pretlac of GreenTech Motors Corporation in Westlake Village (Los Angeles County) will receive $93,600 to advance the production of high-efficiency electric motor technology for building end-use. More efficient electric motors have the potential to increase the generation of clean energy in California and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Vojin Zivojnovic of AGGIOS, Inc. in Irvine (Orange County) will receive $93,000 to demonstrate a mobile power control device to reduce energy use in television set top boxes. The project aims to increase energy efficiency of set top boxes beyond current and planned EnergyStar and Department of Energy standards.

Russell Carrington of Thermaphase Energy, Inc. in El Cerrito (Contra Costa County) will receive $95,000 to research the use of ceramic-metallic composite materials in thermal energy storage systems. The project has the potential to increase solar power storage capacity and reduce electricity costs.

Peter Jardine of Shape Change Technologies in Thousand Oaks (Ventura County) will receive $94,855 to develop and demonstrate a one kilowatt heat engine using a unique foam-based design capable of extracting power from any source of low-grade thermal energy such as hot water. The technology has the potential to increase generation of clean energy and reduce electricity costs by converting industrial, geothermal and solar-thermal hot waste water into electricity.

Servando Gereau of Clean Energy Research Associates in Redlands (San Bernardino County) will receive $95,000 to demonstrate a new design for solar photovoltaic panels using parabolic troughs. The project aims to increase the generation of clean, low cost, efficient energy.

Funds will be paid to the grantees after invoices are reviewed and approved. For more information, visit:

The Energy Innovations Small Grant Program provides funding to small businesses, non-profit organizations, individuals, and academic institutions to conduct research that establishes the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts. The program provides up to $95,000 for hardware projects and up to $50,000 for modeling concepts.

Source: CEC