A regional biomass facility in Truckee in the US, is a step closer to reality following approval of a feasibility study by the Truckee Fire Protection District board of directors and Truckee Tahoe Airport District board of directors.
Wildephor Consulting Services is being contracted to complete the study.
Truckee Fire approved going forward with the project, which will cost $120,000 for a pair of studies, at its June 21 board of directors meeting, while the airport district board unanimously approved moving forward with the studies at its meeting the following day.
The Town of Truckee, the airport district, and Truckee Fire will split the cost of the studies, which is estimated to be roughly $90,000 to determine which type of facility is the best option, and another $30,000 to complete marketability study on biochar and whether it is a cost-effective revenue stream.
Biochar is a lightweight black residue made of carbon and ashes and is used in a range of purposes including soil amendment, water and air filtration, construction material additive, and more.
In August 2022, the airport district, Truckee Fire Protection District, and Truckee entered into an agreement with Wildephor Consulting to complete a scoping study. The three partner agencies, which revealed Truckee generates 25,000 cubic yards of green waste annually.
Additionally, the tipping fee for Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal at Eastern Regional Landfill has more than doubled since 2018. Green waste is also projected to increase by three times in the coming years due to Measure T, which is a parcel tax that is expected to generate roughly $3.7 million per year for wildfire mitigation and prevention programs.
Defensible space programmess are expected to generate 1,600 bone dry tonness of green waste per year, according to Wildephor Consulting’s report. Truckee Fire is estimated to generate two thirds of the towns green waste through its defensible space and forest treatment programmes. Of that amount, Wildephor said about half the material could be used as a fuel source.
In its second phase of scoping, Wildephor found two potential options for Truckee — biomass gasification power and combined heat and biochar system.