Mitigated Negative Declaration for California Renewable Carbon Use Permit (PD-21-19) - California Renewable Carbon, LLC (CRC) proposes to repurpose an existing facility in Colusa County to construct a new renewable biocarbon production facility. The new facility will use CRC's patented non combustion technology to convert sustainably sourced biomass into renewable biocarbon products. The new facility will use self-generated renewable biogas for process energy as well as generate and export renewable electricity to the grid. The new biocarbon process will be net water positive and carbon negative on a lifecycle basis. The facility also will significantly reduce regional air emissions by thousands of tons per year by converting locally sourced biomass such as orchard rotations and trimmings, that otherwise undergo open burning or land disposal, into renewable biocarbon products. CRC's products will be used to displace fossil-based products and reduce environmental impacts from metals production, energy generation, and crop production, and to purify the air and water. CRC will create more than 65 direct clean-tech jobs working toward environmental improvement.
CRC proposes to install and operate a biocarbon production facility and associated transmission (gen-tie) line using renewable biomass at 6229 Myers Road in Williams, CA (CRC Williams facility or proposed Project). The purpose of the proposed Project is to use renewable biomass, primarily in the form of orchard rotations and trimmings, to produce a biocarbon product using a net water positive, non-combustion process involving thermal conversion of biomass. The proposed facility would produce up to 250,000 gross tons of renewable biocarbon per year and includes biomass dryers, process heaters, pelletizers, and a heat recovery/cogeneration unit. The process would use self-generated biogas for process energy and would provide up to 10 megawatts (MW) of net electric power (17 MW gross) for export sale to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) through interconnection to either a PG&E 12 kilovolt (kV) distribution line or PG&E’s Wadham 60 kV power line to PG&E’s Williams Generating Station. The Project involves establishment of a new electrical generation tie line (gen-tie line) for export of electricity to the grid that would involve upgrades to either the Williams 1101 12 kV distribution line or Wadham 60 kV power line. Both electrical lines occur on the same set of power poles; upgrades to either of the lines would involve replacement of some or all of the power poles and installation of new conductor (line). The proposed Project would also include improvements to an existing rail spur system on the production facility property which interconnects with the Union Pacific Railroad tracks adjacent to the property, and the addition of rail spurs on the property.
The Project objectives include the following:
• Produce high performing and highly sustainable biocarbon products that can be utilized in the global market to reduce environmental impacts from metals production, energy generation, and crop production, and to purify air and water;
• Reduce local and global air pollutants, including greenhouse gas emissions, by converting renewable biomass, that otherwise would undergo uncontrolled open burning or disposal at a landfill, into biocarbon products; and
• Utilize self-generated biogas for process energy and to export electricity to the grid.
Location and Project Background
The production facility site is located at 6229 Myers Road in unincorporated Colusa County, approximately 1.4 miles south of the City of Williams at the northeast corner of the intersection of Myers Road and Frontage Road (Figure 1). The 49.2-acre site currently accommodates the former Olam Tomato processing facility, comprising approximately 161,000 square feet of structures and supporting infrastructure including existing buildings, an existing rail spur, and two existing water wells. The site is adjacent to the Wadham Energy Company facility, located just north of the Project Site with agricultural lands north of the Wadham facility, and agricultural land and residences to the east and south. The Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) tracks and Frontage Road run west of the site and Interstate-5 (I-5) is located further west. Orchard land with a single-family residence on a parcel zoned for Heavy Industrial (M-2) is located between Frontage Road and I-5 approximately 150 feet from the western boundary of the site. The site is located approximately 1,000 feet (0.3 mile) from I-5.
The PG&E electrical line that would require an upgrade generally runs along Frontage Road north from the facility to Husted Road and Husted Lateral Road and then through the City of Williams to the PG&E Generating Station.
A summary of the project components is provided in Table 1 followed by a detailed description of the project components.
The process at the CRC Williams facility would involve the following components discussed in more detail below:
• Biomass (i.e., feedstock) receiving and sizing;
• Biomass drying;
• Non-combustion thermal conversion;
• Pellet finishing and shipping; and
Proposed new buildings, chemical storage, rail spur improvements, utility improvements, and construction and operation details are also discussed below. A process flow diagram is shown in Exhibit 1. A Site Plan and Preliminary Grading and Drainage Plan are contained in Appendix K.
Biomass Receiving and Sizing
The biomass receiving and sizing work area has the largest footprint and would be located in the northern section of the property which is largely undeveloped. Biomass feedstock for the CRC Williams facility would be delivered to the facility via heavy trucks traveling eastbound on Myers Road from the Frontage Road to the shared paved access driveway with the Wadham Energy facility. Trucks would travel to the northeast corner of the property where they would enter the facility. New double-lane paved roads would be added at the north property boundary for the truck entrance/exit, a truck loop, and a truck loadout turnaround to and from the truck dump area (where biomass would be unloaded from trucks using a hydraulic truck dump into a receiving unit) (Exhibit 2). A second smaller area has also been designated for trucks equipped with walking floors to unload biomass.
Upon entry to the facility, trucks would first travel to a Truck Scale/Guard House. Then trucks would drive to two Hydraulic Truck Dumps where trucks would be unloaded into two receiving units. Biomass would be fed onto conveyor belts from the receiving unit and transported via the conveyor belts to a new Screening and Sizing Structure. In this structure, biomass material would be scalped (if necessary), screened, hammer-milled to further reduce size, and processed to remove adhered soil. A baghouse on the Screen and Sizing Structure would control dust