For Immediate Release: August 9, 2012
Media Contact: Alison apRoberts - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards Nearly $2 Million to Support
Alternative Fuel Production and Vehicles
Funds Will Assist Innovative Biofuels Facility and Propane Vehicle Purchases

SACRAMENTO - The Energy Commission today unanimously approved funding of $1,974,330 for the expansion and upgrade of a biodiesel production facility and buy-downs of alternative-fuel vehicles.

"These investments will help to reduce our dependence on petroleum, put cleaner cars on our roadways and support the development of alternative fuels," said Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman. "By reducing air pollution, creating green jobs and boosting the state's clean transportation options, they benefit all Californians."

The awards improve the environment, reduce use of foreign oil and help to fulfill the state's pioneering climate-change policies. They are available through the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118. The program provides approximately $100 million annually to encourage the development and use of alternative and renewable fuels and new vehicle technologies.

Yokayo Biofuels, Inc., will receive $1,860,330 to expand and upgrade its facilities, increasing its biodiesel production capacity from 1,400 gallons a day to 2,000 gallons a day using a pioneering enzymatic production process.

The Ukiah-based company (Mendocino County), currently collects used fryer oil from more than 1,000 restaurants and other facilities in Northern California and converts it into biodiesel.

The pioneering enzymatic process to be used in the facility is environmentally cleaner and more efficient than current methods, and also produces a higher quality biodiesel. In addition, the process allows greater use of brown grease, typically from grease traps, which can only be used in very small quantities in traditional biodiesel production.

This biofuels project award reflects the Energy Commission's support of the development and production of alternative fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional gasoline, while stimulating economic development. This project is expected to cost more than $4.7 million, the bulk of it in construction costs, which is expected to boost employment in the Ukiah region.

In addition, the Commission approved an award of $114,000 to Big Valley Ford, Inc., in Stockton (San Joaquin County), for the buy-down of 19 propane gas vehicles of 8,501 to 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight. Vehicles in this weight category are typically trucks or vans.

The buy-down incentives help to pay the difference between alternative-fuel vehicles and conventional vehicles. They are available only for new natural gas and propane vehicles that meet all the emission requirements of the California Air Resources Board.

They are reserved for vehicle manufacturers or their designated dealers and passed on to buyers in California at the time of sale. To receive the incentives, buyers must agree to register and operate the vehicles in California at least 90 percent of the time for three years.

The Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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