Kore Infrastructure partners with Tule River Economic Development Corporation to establish biomass-to-biofuels project
According to Kore, the project will help solve two major challenges in California: reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires and decarbonising transportation.
These challenges will be mitigated by removing the dead, dying, and diseased trees that can become fuel for forest-fires, and converting them into carbon negative UltraGreen Hydrogen™ and biocarbon using Kore’s proprietary technology, added the company.
The California Department of Conservation has awarded Kore a $500,000 (€445k) grant under the Forest Biomass to Carbon-Negative Biofuels Pilot Program to develop the project.
Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design and engineering, is leading the development of the Conceptual Engineering, to be followed by the Front End Engineering Design, during the last quarter of this year.
Construction is expected to begin by early-2024, with commercialisation achieved by the second half of 2025.
“Given the recent record-breaking global temperatures, innovative solutions to ease the effect of climate change are crucial," said Cornelius Shields, founder and CEO, Kore Infrastructure.
“We are proud to partner with the Indigenous leaders at Tule River Economic Development Corporation to introduce our unique technology that can mitigate wildfire risk and restore the health of Sierra Nevada forests, enhance climate resiliency, encourage energy independence, and help decarbonise transportation in the state of California.”
The project is expected to remove and process 48 tons per day of non-merchantable dead, dying and diseased trees, which will help reduce wildfire risk.
The Tule River Economic Development Corporation currently manages 57,000 acres of Sierra Nevada Forest and is entering into a joint stewardship agreement with the US Forest Service to manage another 325,000 acres.
Orchard wood waste from the Central Valley will provide Kore’s facility with supplemental feedstock when forest access is unavailable due to weather or other adverse conditions.
Dennis Ickes, CEO of Tule River Economic Development Corporation said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Kore Infrastructure to support and scale the vision of our renewable energy campus with the production of carbon-negative hydrogen that sustains our local economy.
This project will improve the health of the forests we manage, generate renewable energy, and help enhance the economic independence of our community.”
The project will generate two metric tons of fuel cell quality hydrogen (99.999% purity) per day.
Kore’s commercial partner intends to use this hydrogen to decarbonise shipping container handling equipment at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by converting diesel-powered equipment into fuel cell electric.
The hydrogen may also be available to local users as demand for fuel cell quality hydrogen expands geographically. Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) are also being considered for feedstock, hydrogen and biocarbon transport to further reduce the project’s carbon intensity.
The project will also produce about 10 tons of biocarbon daily – an elemental carbon co-product with multiple benefits.
As a soil amendment, biocarbon increases plant yield while reducing irrigation and fertiliser needs.
Biocarbon also sequesters about three tons of carbon dioxide for every ton incorporated into the soil.
With a heating value comparable to fossil coal, biocarbon can also be used to decarbonise difficult-to-abate industries such as cement manufacturing, which accounts for 4% of California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
David Shabazian, director of California Department of Conservation, said: “We congratulate Kore and look forward to our ongoing collaboration. Converting forest biomass waste into carbon-negative energy is a critical part of achieving California’s climate goals while reducing wildfire hazards, improving watersheds and supporting sustainable local economies in the region.”