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Yosemite Clean Energy Secures site for Wood Waste to Hydrogen Production

Yosemite Clean Energy intends to break ground on its forest waste to green hydrogen and biomethane plant in early to mid-2022. Yosemite is a sustainable biofuels company devoted to the stewardship of our planet’s natural resources as well as the empowerment of local forest and farm communities to democratize energy production.  Yosemite’s biofuels production facilities will utilize proven Austrian-based gasification technology to produce commercial scale carbon-negative green fuels.  The Oroville plant will be the flagship dual-bed gasification facility in the Americas, following over 100,000 hours of commercial run-time across developed plants in Europe, Japan, and South Korea.

California has an estimated 35 million tons of waste woody biomass available annually, currently left to burn, decay, and decompose, emitting immense amounts of greenhouse gases and black carbon. Yosemite will sustainably convert this biomass into syngas, from which carbon negative green hydrogen and RNG is produced using downstream technology already widely commercialized in the US. These-carbon negative fuels will be used to support California’s bold emission targets as it transitions to a carbon neutral economy.

Tom Hobby, the company’s president, stated, “Yosemite and our team of engineers, forest and farm professionals, legal, marketing, and financial teams will lead the company to become the first wood waste biomass plant to produce commercial scale carbon negative green hydrogen and RNG for the California fuel markets.” One plant will produce an estimated 31,000 kg per day of RNG and 12,200 kg per day of green hydrogen. Over the next 10 years, Yosemite plans to have biomass energy plants across California and North America.

Each Yosemite biofuels plant will be locally owned by farmers and forest landowners, who in return will provide wood waste, gathered at the end of the orchard’s lifecycle or through sustainable forest management. Vice-President for Business Development Robert Jackson said, “This is new. This type of ownership in biofuels facilities like ours is the democratization of clean energy. We’re providing an all-new mineral right from a waste stream and converting it to a revenue stream for farmers and forest communities.”

To learn more, go to www.yosemiteclean.com.

San Joaquin Renewables Secures $165 Million for Agricultural Waste to Energy Project

San Joaquin Renewables (SJR) announced today that it reached an agreement with Cresta Fund Management and Silverpeak Energy Partners to invest up to $165 million to develop and construct a biomass to renewable natural gas (“RNG”) project near McFarland, California. Frontline BioEnergy, a leading provider of waste and biomass gasification solutions, is developing the project, which will take orchard residuals and shells from San Joaquin Valley farms and convert them into RNG that will be sold as transportation fuel. The project will also sequester carbon dioxide in an EPA Class VI sequestration well located on the project site. When completed, SJR’s RNG facility will replace the current practice of open burning of agricultural waste with an enclosed system that will produce renewable biomethane and capture and store carbon dioxide.  The biomethane will be sold for vehicle fuel to replace diesel in heavy duty trucks.  By reducing open burning and diesel use, the project will provide huge benefits for the climate and air quality.

To learn more, visit:  https://sjrgas.com/

 

 

BAC Comments on the CPUC’s Biomethane Procurement Proposal

BAC submitted comments on the CPUC’s Staff Proposal on Biomethane Procurement.  The Staff Proposal recommends requiring California’s gas utilities to procure 75 billion cubic feet of biomethane annually by 2030.  That only represents 4 percent of California’s total gas use.  By comparison, state law requires that 60 percent of California’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2030.  In comments on the Staff Proposal, BAC urges the Commission to:

  • Increase the biomethane procurement target to 150 BCF to help meet the state’s climate, clean energy, waste and wildfire reduction goals.
  • Include all eligible organic waste feedstocks.
  • Base program prices on the carbon intensity of the biomethane to prioritize the lowest carbon sources that help reduce climate super pollutants (Short-Lived Climate Pollutants).
  • Offer additional incentives to maximize the carbon reductions and other benefits of the program

To read BAC’s detailed comments, see R.13-02-008 BAC Comments on Phase 4A Staff Proposal

CPUC Proposes Biomethane Procurement Program

In June, the CPUC released a draft Staff Proposal on biomethane procurement.  The proposal recommends requiring the gas utilities to procure 75 billion cubic feet of biomethane annually by 2030, primarily from organic waste that is diverted from landfills and from landfill gas.  The Staff Proposal also recommends the inclusion of two pilot projects that convert forest waste to biomethane, which will help the state to meet its wildfire and black carbon reduction goals.  Unfortunately, the Staff Proposal excludes biomethane from dairy waste and does not address agricultural waste or urban wood waste at all.

See, CPUC’s Biomethane Procurement Staff Proposal

 

Princeton Study Highlights Need for Bioenergy, Renewable Hydrogen

Princeton University has released a groundbreaking study on how the United States can achieve carbon neutrality.  The study finds that bioenergy – especially biomass with carbon capture and storage – and renewable hydrogen will be critical to achieve carbon neutrality.  The study’s main conclusions related to bioenergy are:

  • Biomass plays an especially important role in achieving carbon neutrality because i) it removes CO2  from the atmosphere as it grows and so combustion of hydrocarbon fuels made with biomass carbon results in no net CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, ii) it can be converted into H2  while capturing and permanently sequestering its carbon, resulting in a net negative-emissions fuel, and iii) it can similarly be used to make negative-emissions electricity.
  • Starting in the 2030s, H2  from biomass with capture of CO2  that is permanently sequestered is a highly cost-competitive technology option because of the  high value of the  associated negative emissions; negative-emissions bio electricity is less valued because of abundant low cost of solar and wind electricity.
  • Hydrogen is a key carbon-free intermediate or final fuel.

You can download the full study here.  The Bioenergy chapter begins on slide 200.

San Joaquin Renewables Project Converts Ag Waste to Fuels and Biochar

The Bakersfield Californian ran a front page story on San Joaquin Renewables’ project in MacFarland, Kern County, which will convert agricultural waste to low carbon vehicle fuels and biochar.  The project will provide huge benefits to the San Joaquin Valley, by providing an alternative to open burning of the agricultural waste and replacing diesel in heavy duty trucks.  The project will also provide about 50 good jobs in the County, which suffers high levels of unemployment.  And, it will provide carbon negative emissions because it will avoid black carbon emissions from open burning and diesel use, plus carbon sequestration from the biochar.

See the full article here.

New Fact Sheet Highlights Job Benefits of Bioenergy

See the new Bioenergy and Jobs Fact Sheet developed by Gladstein, Neandross & Associates for BAC and CNGVP.  The fact sheet highlights the jobs and other economic benefits that bioenergy provides from a range of organic waste sources and bioenergy end uses, including electricity generation, pipeline biogas, carbon negative vehicle fuels, and more.

Bakersfield Californian: Bioenergy Interest Heats up in Kern County

The Bakersfield Californian article highlights the many benefits of bioenergy production, from job creation to reduce air and climate pollution.  It highlights the growth of bioenergy projects in Kern County and the opportunities for bioenergy from all organic waste sectors.

Read the article here.

California Finalizes Organic Waste Diversion Regulations

In 2016, California enacted Senate Bill 1383 to reduce the most damaging climate pollutants, known as Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.  The bill requires a 40 percent reduction in methane emissions and a 50 percent reduction in anthropogenic black carbon by 2030.  As part of the methane reduction requirement, the legislation requires a 75 percent reduction in organic landfill waste by 2025.  That means diverting more than 15 million tons of organic waste currently going to landfills and converting it to energy and compost instead.

CalRecycle’s regulations to implement the organic waste diversion requirements were just finalized by the state’s Office of Administrative Law.  The key provisions related to bioenergy are contained in Article 12 (beginning on page 92), which sets out requirements for local jurisdictions to procure bioenergy and/or compost generated from the diverted organic waste.

See:  CalRecycle SB 1383 regulations (final)

CA Board of Forestry Adopts Biomass Utilization Plan

On November 4, the California Board of Forestry adopted a forest biomass utilization plan that recommends many actions to put California’s extensive forest waste to beneficial re-use, including numerous bioenergy recommendations.  Some of the most important recommendations related to bioenergy are:

  • Consolidated permitting
  • State procurement of bioenergy
  • Inclusion of forest biomass in microgrid tariffs
  • Allocating 20% of electricity and gas R&D funding (EPIC and PIER) to forest biomass, including biomass to hydrogen projects
  • Adopting pipeline standards for biomass and hydrogen
  • Incentivizing both electricity and pipeline interconnection for forest biomass projects
  • Incentivizing use of forest biomass under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard
  • Increasing BioMAT category 3 (forest waste) to 250 MW and allowing Community Choice Aggregators (CCA’s) and publicly owned utilities to participate in the program
  • Requiring a portion of new RPS power to be baseload and flexible generation

Read:  Joint Institute Wood and Biomass Utilization Recommendations