Mote launches second biomass-to-hydrogen project in Northern California

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Mote Inc. has received $1.2 million (€1.1 million) in grant funding from the US Forest Service, the California Department of Conservation, and the California Department of Forestry (CAL FIRE) to establish its second biomass-to-hydrogen and carbon sequestration plant, in partnership with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
As Mote’s hydrogen offtake partner for the second facility in Sacramento, SMUD and Mote have been collaborating on the project development.
Upon completion, the facility is expected to produce approximately 21,000 metric tonnes per year (MTPY) of carbon-negative hydrogen for use in thermal power generation and transportation.
The plant is also estimated to sequester over 450,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, equal to the CO2 emissions of over 100,000 cars each year.
The project is supported by forestry stakeholders due to Mote’s capacity to create value from large amounts of wood waste, according to the company.
The project can utilise up to 300,000 MTPY of forest residues and wood waste from regional forest management programmes, such as those in the Sierra Nevadas. This waste would otherwise be open-air burned, left to decompose, or sent to a landfill.
“On our path toward a sustainable future, SMUD remains dedicated to harnessing the power of our partnerships and cutting-edge technologies to create innovative green energy solutions and opportunities for the entire region," said Lora Anguay, chief zero carbon officer at SMUD.
"Through our ambitious 2030 Zero Carbon Plan and visionary leadership, we are driving positive environmental change, championing large-scale utility decarbonisation, and fostering an equitable transition toward a clean energy economy and future that benefits all communities."
Mote’s carbon-negative hydrogen solution is a first-of-a-kind model for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Similar to its first project near Bakersfield, this second plant will integrate with carbon capture and geological sequestration methods to produce carbon-negative hydrogen.
Using gasification and a proprietary integration of proven technology, Mote can process woody waste from farms, forestry and urban sources.
The remaining carbon dioxide from the process is captured and permanently placed underground in saline aquifers for ecologically safe storage.
The focus on carbon removal and storage sets Mote’s technology apart from other clean hydrogen projects, as Mote’s product delivers hydrogen with a producer sale price and carbon intensity score significantly lower than its competitors at -150 gCO2/MJ, said the organisation.
“There is a pressing need for durable, large-scale carbon removal and scalable solutions that provide low-cost, clean hydrogen in the ongoing energy transition. Mote’s technology does both. Our projects in Sacramento and Bakersfield will be the first commercial-scale projects to utilise sustainably sourced biomass for this purpose,” said Joshuah Stolaroff, CEO of Mote.
“Our transformative use of wastes to fight climate change saves money, land and resources compared to alternative options. With continued support from partner organisations, we will expand to become a major part of the global path to net zero.”


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