California Awards Viridos a CalCompetes Grant
to Expand its Imperial Valley Operations

The grant will enable Viridos to continue its mission of bringing low carbon, algae-based sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel to the transportation marketplace

See more information for the state’s press release here.

Sacramento, CA (April 21, 2022) – Today, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced $120 million in California Competes (CalCompetes) grant awards that are projected to create more than 7,615 new, full-time jobs in California and bring over $3.3 billion in new investments to the state over the next 5 years.

In addition, GO-Biz announced $66.4 million in tax credits that are projected to create more than 3,992 new, full-time jobs in California. These awards will bring more than $645 million in new investments to the state over the next 5 years.

Together, the two programs account for the most jobs ever committed to California during one CalCompetes application period.

CalCompetes plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining startups and established companies alike, who in turn create good-paying jobs and increased economic opportunity for California workers.

“This was the first time we were able to offer grants as part of the CalCompetes program, and it was a huge success, resulting in the highest job commitment total for any single CalCompetes application period in the program’s history,” said Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom and Director of GO-Biz. “This one-time, $120 million grant program received more than $3.4 billion in requests, showing beyond a doubt that companies want to invest, grow and create jobs in California. And the incentives that CalCompetes provides are a great deal for taxpayers, bringing family-supporting jobs and investment to our state that would otherwise go someplace else.”

In exchange for a $30 million grant, Silicon Valley stalwart Applied Materials, Inc. will create at least 683 full-time jobs and invest $2 billion to develop and deliver next generation semiconductor manufacturing equipment. This grant will be vital to Applied Materials’ ability to secure federal CHIPS Act funding designed to bring semiconductor and microchip manufacturing back to
the US.

“From our earliest days as a startup, Applied Materials has helped shape the future of Silicon Valley and secure American leadership in semiconductor technology,” said Joe Pon, Corporate Vice President of Applied Materials, Inc. “The CalCompetes grant will play a pivotal role in our ability to attract federal funding to California and strengthen the state’s role in the development of advanced chips in the U.S. We are grateful to GO-Biz and Governor Gavin Newsom for their commitment to ensure that California remains a global leader for technology innovation.”

SPARKZ, Inc. received a $5 million grant to establish a manufacturing facility in the Central Valley for cobalt-free, lithium-ion batteries and create over 800 new, full-time jobs. By removing cobalt from the formula, these batteries will be less expensive to manufacture, easier to recycle, and better for the environment.

“SPARKZ is re-engineering the battery supply chain by eliminating cobalt and setting our sights on making high-performing, sustainable EV batteries in America. The support of Governor Newsom through this GO-Biz California Competes grant will allow our company the ability to hire Californians, build our manufacturing facility and play a role in solving the climate crisis,” said founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra. “America’s clean energy future will reach its potential when we innovate and manufacture the next generation of energy storage domestically and California is leading that effort.”

Additional awardees include Hawthorne-based electric aircraft manufacturer, Ampaire, Inc., and Universal Hydrogen Co., who is developing technology to replace standard aircraft fuel with hydrogen systems. Additionally, La Jolla’s Viridos, Inc. is using their award to open a pilot biofuel manufacturing facility in Imperial County’s Calipatria that will make environmentally friendly, low-emission fuel from algae.

“California has always been at the forefront of green technology development. We are thrilled that businesses like Ampaire, Universal Hydrogen, and Viridos have chosen California for these vital projects that will help California meet its carbon reduction goals and mitigate the extreme impacts of climate change,” said CalCompetes Deputy Director Scott Dosick. “We especially appreciate supporting companies like Viridos that choose to invest in areas such as Imperial County that have suffered too long from chronically high unemployment and poverty levels.”

“Viridos is committed to working with the heavy transportation sector to reduce its climate impact. We are honored to receive this grant from Governor Newsom and California Competes, which will enable Viridos to continue our mission of bringing lowcarbon, algae-based sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel to the transportation marketplace,” said Viridos CEO Oliver Fetzer. “We are proud of our continued commitment to keeping California as our base and our continued legacy of bringing high-quality jobs to the Imperial Valley.”

The complete list of approved companies and award amounts is available online

The California Competes Tax Credit was created in 2013 to focus on helping businesses grow and stay in California. GO-Biz evaluates the most competitive applications based on the factors required by statute, including total jobs created, total investment, average wage, economic impact, strategic importance and more. In 2018, the program was extended for an additional five years with at least $180 million in tax credits available for allocation to business each year through 2023.

About Viridos

Viridos (formerly Synthetic Genomics, Inc) is a privately held biotechnology company harnessing the power of photosynthesis to create transformative solutions to mitigate climate change. Our unparalleled understanding of algal genetics and ability to translate innovation from lab to field underpins our initial deployment: a scalable platform to produce low-carbon intensity biofuels for aviation, commercial trucking, and maritime shipping. Building on a legacy of genomic firsts, our team of scientists and engineers are shaping new pathways toward a sustainable bioeconomy.