Sacramento - Ten small-scale but innovative projects have been awarded funds by the California Energy Commission to conduct cutting-edge research that will reduce the cost of producing electricity, save energy and improve the environment.
The research projects will receive grants of up to $75,000 each from the Energy Innovations Small Grant Program -- a part of the Commission's $62 million a year Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.
Small grants are for small businesses, academic institutions, non-profit organizations and individuals that would not normally qualify for PIER funding. Since serious R&D programs are beyond their means to compete against, the small grants program helps to level the playing field.
Started in 1999, the Small Innovation Grant Program is administered by the San Diego State University Foundation. It taps the supply of innovative but untested concepts in small businesses, individual investors and academic faculty, where proof of feasibility can be difficult to fund.
Completed projects under the program have garnered follow-on research funds from other sources on a ratio of 12-1. About $5.3 million in small grants funding has won
$65 million for follow-on research. For example, Nanosolar Inc., a tiny Palo Alto firm awarded a grant by the program last year, has captured $10.3 million from other funding sources for its innovative PV product.
Latest Recipients of the Small Grant Program are:
United Innovations, Inc. of San Marcos, for a device called dielectric light injector to increase the electricity conversion capacity of advanced solar energy concentrators.
Hi-Q Products, Inc. in Alhambra, for its Mamikon spinner that could increase the electricity yield of small wind turbines.
Alice Agogino of the University of California, Berkeley, for research on more effective lighting controls to save electricity.
Konarka Technologies, Inc. of Lowell, Massachusetts, to develop aesthetically pleasing photovoltaic modules for California applications, to match residential roofing materials.
Ning Pan of the University of California, Davis, for an advanced rechargeable battery technology to store and deliver electricity on demand.
Laurent G. Pilon of the University of California, Los Angeles, for research to develop a cheap and reliable source of hydrogen to power fuel cells.
Mario A. Medina of the University of Kansas, for phase-change frame walls to reduce peak demand, shift load and reduce energy use in the coastal areas of California.
Lieberman Research Associates of Torrance, for a research to lower the cost of storing energy from wind.
Sonipulse, Inc. of El Dorado Hills, for the use of pulsed ultrasound to replace chlorine or chlorine compounds to treat municipal, industrial and agricultural wastewater.
Charles Huizenga of the University of California, Berkeley, for the development of a wireless lighting control network.
Below is a list of contacts for each of the awarded projects:
United Innovations, Inc., Ugur Ortabasi -- 760-761-0463
Hi-Q Products, Inc. -- 626-308-4400
Alice Agogino, UC Berkeley -- 510-642-6450
Konarka Technologies, Inc. -- 978-569-1410
Ning Pan, UC Davis -- 530-752-6232
Laurent G. Pilon, UCLA -- 310-206-5598
Mario A, Medina, Ph.D., Univ. of Kansas -- 785-864-3604
Lieberman Research Associates, Dr. Paul Lieberman, -- 310-371-2198
Sonipulse, Inc., Robert W. Cribbs -- 916-941-7600
Charles Huizenga, UC Berkeley -- 510-643-8003