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Two BAC Members – Mote and SMUD – Partner to Develop Carbon Negative Biomass to Hydrogen Project

Mote has received state and federal funding to launch a second biomass to hydrogen project, partnering with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to develop the project in the Sacramento area. The project will convert up to 300,000 tons per year of forest waste to carbon negative hydrogen. That forest waste would otherwise be piled and burned, left to decay, or sent to a landfill, all of which emit harmful climate and air pollutants. Instead, Mote will produce carbon negative hydrogen and sequester over 450,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, equal to the CO2 emissions of over 100,000 cars each year. The project will also help SMUD to achieve its goal of zero carbon energy by 2030.

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.

This news comes on the heels of state and federal recognition for the company’s Bakersfield facility, which has completed its FEL-2 study. Mote has received a formal invitation to submit a Part II application to the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office (LPO) Title 17 Clean Energy Financing program, which can offer loan guarantees up to 80 percent of eligible project costs for innovative energy projects like Mote’s facilities. Bakersfield construction is expected to begin in 2025 and target full operational capacity by 2027. Additionally, Mote is a member of the ARCHES community and its application for the US Department of Energy’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub grant, which should be announced later this fall.