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California to have a network of 100 flex fuel stations by 2016

Renewable fuels retailer Propel Fuels is set to build more than 100 ethanol fuel stations in California over the next four years.

The company was awarded a $10.1 million grant from the California Energy Commission for the project which will serve California's approximately 500,000 flex fuel vehicles.

Propel will match the grant with over $24 million in private investment and manage the construction, operation and maintenance of the fueling infrastructure.

The project will use Propel's Flex Fuel E85 stations which dispense fuel with 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

Scheduled for completion by 2016, it will create more than 600 jobs in the state and displace an estimated 145 million gallons of petroleum annually, for carbon emissions reduction of 470,000 tons according to the company.

The grant for Propel is one of seven announced by the California Energy Commission on May 31. The commission announced a total of $35,031,310 in grants for alternative vehicle and alternative fuel companies in the state.

The awards were provided through the commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program which provides approximately $100 million annually to support new vehicle technologies and alternative fuel use to help California achieve its climate change goals.

"They will enable the deployment of more advanced technology vehicles on the roadways - and support the development of the fueling infrastructure needed to keep them rolling," said commissioner Carla Peterman.

Including Propel, seven California companies received the grants. The other six companies and projects are:

  • Calstart, Inc., which got $14,469,304 for a demonstration project for medium- and heavy-duty advanced vehicles;
  • SacPort Biofuels Corp. ($5 million) which will develop, build and test a pilot facility to demonstrate a gasification process to produce renewable biomass diesel from local municipal solid waste;
  • Gas Technology Institute which got $4,562,532 for two projects, the first a demonstration of three plug-in hybrid trucks with US Hybrid Corp and the second a demonstration of a natural gas version of a heavy-duty diesel engine developed in partnership with Clean Air Power;
  • Springboard Biodiesel, LLC, which got $758,200 to develop and build a pilot biodiesel production facility that will produce renewable fuel from used cooking oil;
  • Whole Energy Pacifica LLC, which got $125,274 to design build and install a fuel-blending system at an existing biodiesel terminal; and
  • Reynolds Buick-GMC which will receive a buy-down incentive of $16,000 for two natural-gas fuelled medium-duty vehicles.

– K.R. Jalbuena

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