Ten small-scale projects from around the nation were awarded funds through the California Energy Commission to conduct research that will reduce the cost of producing electricity, save energy and improve the environment.Sacramento, California – September 20, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Each projects is eligible for a grant of up to $75,000 each from the Energy Innovations Small Grant Program, which is 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 a small company’s 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. Latest Recipients of the Small Grant Program: – United Innovations of San Marcos, for a device called dielectric light injector to increase the electricity conversion capacity of advanced solar energy concentrators. – Hi-Q Products in Alhambra, for its Mamikon spinner that could increase the electricity yield of small wind turbines. – Lieberman Research Associates of Torrance, for a research to lower the cost of storing energy from wind. – 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. – Alice Agogino of the University of California, Berkeley, for research on more effective lighting controls to save electricity. – Sonipulse 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.