The California Energy Commission has awarded $1.1 million to 12 small-scale research projects, including two in East Ventura County, the commission announced earlier in December. The research will focus on reducing the cost of producing electricity, saving energy and improving the environment.
Each project will receive grants of up to $95,000 from the Energy Innovations Small Grant Program, part of the Energy Commission’s research and development work.
Ron Pretlac of GreenTech Motors Corp. in Westlake Village 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 generation of clean energy and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
In Thousand Oaks, Peter Jardine of Shape Change Technologies 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 could potentially increase generation of clean energy and reduce electricity costs by converting industrial, geothermal and solar-thermal hot waste water into electricity.
Projects completed under the grant program have attracted follow-on research funds from other sources. As of 2013, $34 million in Energy Commission grants has led to $1.8 billion in follow-on investment.
The Energy Innovations Small Grant Program provides funding to small businesses, nonprofits, individuals and academic institutions to conduct research that establishes the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts.