Yosemite Clean Energy plans to open Oroville plant

OROVILLE — Yosemite Clean Energy plans to open up a green energy plant in Oroville in mid-2024.

Yosemite Clean Energy, which is based in Mariposa, announced it has secured the site for developing its first carbon-negative green hydrogen and renewable natural gas production plant in Oroville with groundbreaking scheduled for Q2 of 2022. Yosemite is a sustainable biofuels company devoted to the stewardship of the planet’s natural resources as well as the empowerment of local forest and farm communities to democratize energy production, according to a press release.

“We’re excited to be coming to Butte County,” said Tom Hobby, Yosemite Clean Energy president. “We will produce carbon negative renewable natural gas and carbon negative green hydrogen.”

Hobby said the plant is the first of its kind located in North America.

“Our partners in Oroville drew us into the community with support along with Butte Fire Safe Council,” Hobby said. “The city has been very welcoming.”

Not only will the plant help the environment, but 60 to 70 full-time jobs will be created with the plant’s opening, Hobby said. The jobs do not require advanced degrees and are good-paying, stable jobs.

“California is mandated to be carbon zero in 2035,” Hobby said. “We are a part of that and de-carbonizing our state. People are working with us to better manage forests and help farmers.”

According to the press release, 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 biomass into syngas, from which carbon negative green hydrogen and renewable natural gas is produced using downstream technology already widely commercialized in the US. These carbon negative fuels will be used to support California’s emission targets as it transitions to a carbon neutral economy.

“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 renewable natural gas for the California fuel markets,” Hobby said. “One plant will produce an estimated 31,000 kg per day of renewable natural gas 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, Hobby said, who in return will provide wood waste, gathered at the end of the orchard’s lifecycle or through sustainable forest management.

“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,” said Robert Jackson, the company’s vice president for Business Development.

Hobby said early in 2022, Yosemite Clean Energy will hold community engagement meetings and job development fairs so people can come and ask questions and participate in the process.

For more about Yosemite Clean Energy, go to www.yosemiteclean.com.

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