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Tuolumne County Business Gets Millions In CAL Fire Grants

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Sonora, CA – A Tuolumne County business and groups will get more than $2.3 million in CAL Fire grants for new wood product innovation opportunities; other Mother Lode counties will also get some of the millions in funding.

This week, the CAL Fire Wood Products and Bioenergy Team is awarding $16 million in new grants. The 14 recipients are non-profits, small businesses and manufacturing facilities across California. The focus is on biomass energy projects, forest restoration, workforce recruitment and support for veterans, and underserved communities.

“CAL FIRE’s Business and Workforce Development Grants Program offers the most project support of any grant program we researched,” said Eric Martin of the Northstar Community Services District in Truckee. “The funding is invaluable in stimulating development of projects that support the State’s ambitious goal of treating one million forest acres annually.”

These projects will fund expansion in the workforce and businesses involved in creating healthy, resilient forests across the State as outlined in California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, according to CAL Fire, which added the team has awarded $67 million in grants since January of last year. Here are the grant details for Mother Lode counties as provided by CAL Fire:

Tuolumne $300,582: Kodama Systems (Kodama) is requesting funding to develop high-speed site connectivity and telemetry on remote forest management sites. Funding for this project will be used to develop software and hardware that enables machines to relay operational information to a landing site control center and establish communications redundancy for improved safety. Information such as machine locations will be shared between crew members and metrics such as acres treated will be reported to a web interface accessible by Cal Fire. Anticipated project impacts include increased thinning productivity and operational efficiencies that can scale across the industry. Additional impacts of these innovations include reduced costs for forest management contractors and economic development in nearby communities.

  • Tuolumne, Amador, Mariposa, Placer $500,000:  Mote is seeking funding to assist in research and development of its uniquely integrated biomass gasification facility in El Dorado County to utilize wood waste from the Sierra Nevada region for the production of carbon-negative hydrogen with geologic Carbon Dioxide (CO2) sequestration. Mote’s facility will support feedstock businesses sources from El Dorado, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Amador, Mariposa Placer, Nevada, Plumas, Butte, and Yuba counties, many of which are considered high-priority disadvantaged/low-income and wildfire-risk to forest ecosystem services areas by CalFire. The proposed project scope of work focuses on research and development activities to further engineering, permitting, site evaluation and feedstock feasibility studies.
  • Tuolumne $1,891,000:  The American Wood Fibers [AWF] project is to increase the shaving capacity at Jamestown by installing an additional shaver that includes new innovative technology prototyped and approved at AWF’s Kentucky and Wisconsin wood fiber processing facilities. The new technology increases efficiency and throughput while reducing maintenance costs, and will increase Jamestown’s overall production capacity by 40%. The new system will be able to better process burned and/or diseased timber which comprises over 95% of the facility’s raw material intake. This project will directly result in the reduction of hazardous fuels and the improvement of forest health through sourcing an additional 16,000 tons of logs annually and the capacity to supply finished feedstock to AWF’s Marysville, CA operation.
  • Amador, Placer County $1,276,370: Fire Academy for Underserved Communities Workforce Development Project: Amador El Dorado Placer Sacramento. Future Fire Academy is dedicated to creating opportunities for veterans, underserved communities, and justice-involved individuals who desire a career in the forestry and fire service. This is accomplished through job-specific training, education, community service, and character development. Funding from CAL FIRE will support our workforce development efforts to train and place 60 people per year in forestry and fire prevention and suppression opportunities. This is accomplished through our Wildland academies – 3 per year. The Fuels Reduction Division helps support fire prevention in El Dorado and surrounding counties by assisting multi-acre private property owners, HOA’s and fire-safe councils with their defensible space, fire mitigation, and storm cleanup, as well as providing hands-on training to cadets.
  • Placer County $2,000,000: Business Development Arbor Energy and Resources Corporation Detailed engineering for the construction of a 3MW biomass gasification facility in Placer County, CA Placer. Arbor will coordinate the detailed engineering of a novel 3MW biomass gasification facility in Placer County, CA, focused on value-added opportunities for the utilization of woody biomass generated as a byproduct of sustainable forestry management operations. We leverage torrefaction, compact entrained flow gasification, oxyfuel combustion, and high-pressure turbo-expansion to create a first-of-its-kind biomass plant that will convert heterogeneous waste into carbon-negative power, capturing the associated carbon for sequestration. Our system can drastically change the economics of waste biomass utilization through monetizing carbon credits. Our final design will be an ultra-compact, modular unit that can be deployed in the region to reduce fuel loading, finance forest restoration, utilize the local workforce, and allow for energy resources to be harnessed by the community.

Click here to view all 14 grants.