The Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution District (NoSoCoAir) proudly presents the Sonoma County Biomass Business competition (Bio Biz Competition).
BioBiz is a showcase of local small business innovation. NoSoCoAir and a coalition of forest experts, business leaders, and public officials, recognize that forest restoration is necessary to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and to maintain healthy forest ecosystems. A recurring barrier to forest restoration activity is the removal and utilization of excess biomass that creates excess fire fuels and alters the native ecosystems. The goal of the Competition is to spur local small business innovation to create high value wood products from the excess biomass to create complementary and ongoing partnerships that support forest restoration activities and help maintain healthy forest ecosystems.
Recurring and catastrophic wildfires endanger forest health, air quality, property and our health and safety. Building off the indomitable spirit of Sonoma County’s Recovery and Resiliency Program, NoSoCoAir established its “Healthy Forests, Clean Air Initiative” in 2018 to connect with regional partners and to support innovative solutions to forest fuels management that also promote clean air quality.
The Competition is the product of over 20 diverse and experienced organizations to implement the Biomass Business Competition. The Competition will reflect the immense amount of State policy support to catalyze business development through proven non-merchantable woody-product solutions like SB 859’s Wood Utilization Barriers team working under the State’s Forest Management Task Force. The Competition has several organizations committing both cash for start-up capital and staff labor to facilitate the program through to completion.
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We are pleased to announce that the BioBiz Competition has selected the two winning projects to each receive $47,500 in startup capital and technical services to launch their small business biomass venture.
Congratulations to Soil Carbon Management Co. and Forestree Collective!
Soil Carbon Management Company has created a unique and sustainable business that uses Sonoma County wood biomass to regenerate agricultural soils and sequester CO2. By providing landowners with a portion of the carbon credits we generate, we help strengthen and preserve agriculture in Sonoma County.
Starting in Sonoma County, the soil amendment that we have created and the education and research we are performing has the potential of revolutionizing soil carbon capture throughout the world.
Soil Carbon Management’s business converts wood chip biomass into Primordial Biome™, an agricultural soil amendment that sequesters CO2 in the soil while improving soil health. Much beyond the Competition, agricultural sequestration of CO2 is essential for the survival of the human species.
Forestree Collective uses robotics and automation to affordably and efficiently convert small-diameter timber into contemporary home products and houses. We leverage and adapt the latest in robotics and lidar scanning technology to maximize efficiency, consistency, and profits from low and no-value timber.
Forestree Collective products are minimalist, honest and zero VOC. Purchasing our products means having a healthier home while supporting a healthier California.
NOBLE BIORESOURCE INC.
Noble Bioresources, Inc. offers onsite renewable energy 24/7 from non-merchantable biomass. We offer a modular Biomass Combined Heat and Power (BCHP) system for on and off-grid applications. The system’s, “TeoForce®,” technology from Force-Energy, Inc. serves two markets: 1) Supplemental Heat and Power and 2) Commercial Pellets and Briquetting formation.
OTHER PARTICIPATING APPLICANTS
BAY AREA BIOCHAR
Bay Area Biochar will convert waste wood from orchard prunings and under story fire hazard removal to a premium soil amendment to be sold through online sales and direct to customers at farm stands.
SONOMA BIOMASS COMPANY
Sonoma Biomass Company will process woody biomass into several value-add products using mature, commercially available technology. Onsite processing will generate electricity, heat, and soil amendment as well as potentially producing solid fuel for heating or cooking.
SONOMA SUN PELLETS
Sonoma Sun Pellets seeks to create a new product (locally sourced, sun-cured wood pellets ‘Sun-Pellets”) and replace existing heating equipment with more cost-effective, climate friendly technology. The business will introduce biomass cogeneration equipment into the local food and beverage economy.
Willow is a consumer-facing carbon-negative soil startup based in California. Our first product is a carbon-negative soil amendment made from organic biochar, which turns waste-stream feedstock into a valuable gardening, landscaping, and agricultural input.
Prepare a winning biomass business plan concept for the competition.
The cash award total for the Competition will be finalized soon. We expect a Competition total of at least $95,000 split between two winners equally for a prize take away total of $47,500 each.
There will also be a technical awards package offered to all award winners including:
- Environmental Permitting and Legal Assistance (CLERE Inc) – 4 hours
- Financial Assistance (Napa-Sonoma SBDC)
- Marketing Assistance (Napa-Sonoma SBDC)
Awardees will also be able to leverage key contacts with individuals to secure feedstock contracts from various entities throughout the County.
The Competition will not be looking for fully completed business plans, but rather, well thought through business concepts. However, the more information provided on the logistics of the business concept will help the review committee make a decision.
The application will require two components including the Applicant Cover Sheet and an Executive Summary of the Business Concept (including financials) limited to 5 pages. In order to help guide applicants, several optional templates are provided below. Please ensure that your application addresses the goals, objectives and scoring criteria discussed in the RFP.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
The Sonoma County Biomass Business Competition is requesting proposals to create economic incentives and markets which support fire safe vegetation management and avoids air pollution. The intent is for the selected awardee to play a critical role in utilizing wood waste that would have otherwise been a fire threat, or open pile burned. Through this Competition, we invite all eligible applicants to develop a business plan proposal to launch a new wood product industry in the region. We encourage all considerations for launching a new venture or expanding their existing business to build a wood utilization market. Competitive applicants will directly address what is explained in the RFP.
Applicants must submit an Applicant Cover Sheet, Executive Summary Business Concept (5p limit), Resumes, Articles of Incorporation for their business, and additional proof of concept to support business concept.
Please submit all applications to email@example.com in PDF format by March 26th 11:59pm
COMPETITION TIME LINE
February 1st Release Request for Proposals
Jan 27th – Feb 4th How to Write a Business Plan Zoom Workshops
March 26th First Phase Proposals due by 11:59 PM
April 26th Executive Committee completes Phase One reviews
April 26th – May 7th How to Pitch your Business Concept Zoom Workshops
June 4th Phase two Evaluation Questions Due by 11:59 p.m.
June 30th Business Pitch Competition
Early July Announcement of winners (subject to delay)
Mid July Disbursement of awards packages (subject to delay)
The Biomass Business Competition will employ a two phased review process. The first phase will be an initial evaluation of applicants based on how well they score according to our first phase Scoring Criteria. Applicants will need to have their application package submitted before March 26th, 2021. A panel of judges will notify applicants if they will continue to the second phase of the Competition.
- First Phase Scoring Criteria (detailed)
How to Write a Business Plan Napa-Sonoma SBDC will be hosting four (4) free zoom workshops to review what will be important details to consider when writing a business plan. For more information on how to register go to the Napa-Sonoma SBDC website.
- Dates: Jan 27th – Feb 4th, 2021
By April 26th, 2021 second phase applicants will be notified and sent supplemental questions about their first phase application. There will be general questions that we will be asking every applicant in addition to questions more specific to the business model. Applicants will limit their responses to 5 pages. Applicants need to respond by June 4th, 2021 to be considered for the Pitch Competition. Scoring for this phases of the Competition will be combined with the Pitch Competition
How to Pitch Your Business Napa-Sonoma SBDC will be hosting four (4) free zoom workshops to review what will be important details to consider when pitching a business plan. For more information on how to register go to the Napa-Sonoma SBDC website and check back in closer to workshop dates.
- Dates: April 26th – May 7th, 2021
Once submitted, the review committee will assess each supplemental response and select the final candidates to proceed to the Pitch Competition hosted on June 30th, 2021. The Pitch Competition will be the final stage of the Biomass Business Competition and is mandatory. The selection of our winning applicants at this stage will be assessed on a number of criteria surrounding presentation skills and business acumen.
- Second Phase Scoring Criteria (detailed)
An interdisciplinary team of local and state agencies with business and forestry expertise.
Director of Business Development and Innovation, Sonoma County Economic Development Board
Deputy Chief of Wood Products and Bioenergy, CAL FIRE
Commercial Accounts Manager, Sonoma Clean Power
Executive Officer, Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District
CLERE Inc., General Counsel for Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District
Director of Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center, with support from John Degaetano
Competition coordinator, CLERE Inc.
The BioBiz Competition is brought to you by our valued partners that provide funding and support services.
COALITION OF SUPPORT
SONOMA COUNTY FOREST CONSERVATION WORKING GROUP
Perpetuating sustainable, healthy, & diverse forests, woodlands & watersheds across the Sonoma County landscape. More…
The mission is to empower & partner with landowners & the community to address pressing natural resource concerns. More…
SONOMA BIOCHAR INITIATIVE
Dedicated to promoting biochar education & its sustainable production & use throughout California. More…
Collaborative problem solving of some of our greatest challenges: limited resources, urgent needs, & an ever-changing landscape. More…
UC DAVIS COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
Working to innovate solutions that support productive agriculture, healthy ecosystems & prosperous communities. More…
Ecosystem-climate research, producing critical science to guide our region’s natural resource management & conservation planning. More…
REBUILD NORTHBAY FOUNDATION
Committed to the long-term rebuilding of our region as a more sustainable & resilient community. More…
GOLD RIDGE RCD
Stewardship to address water quality, climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem health, & water quantity on private and public lands. More…
RUSSIAN RIVER CONFLUENCE
Driving community action towards a healthy, resilient & regenerative Russian River watershed. More…
SONOMA COUNTY REGIONAL PARKS
Regional Parks includes more than 50 parks & beaches & preserves irreplaceable natural & cultural resources. More…
SONOMA COUNTY AG + OPEN SPACE
AG + Open Space District permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource, & scenic open space lands. More…
CITY OF CLOVERDALE
Nestled in the hills of Sonoma County, Cloverdale is an exceptional place to call home. More…
Resources to help you develop a winning business plan concept.
The most recent publications on forest health and climate science, policy and initiatives
2018 SONOMA COUNTY RECOVERY AND RESILIENCY FRAMEWORK
Background: The Framework was prepared by the County’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency in collaboration with other County departments and agencies, cities and other jurisdictions, nonprofits, and other community stakeholders. This Framework is a culmination of input provided by community members and stakeholders during an extensive community engagement period that included seven countywide community meetings, an online survey, and feedback meetings with over 80 community organizations and local partners.
In Brief: Starting page 118, the primary natural resource goals informed by meaningful collaboration with community partners and agencies are to: reduce forest fuel loads strategically to lower wildfire hazards to communities and sensitive habitats, improve delivery of resources and amenities people need, and move forests on a trajectory of increased resistance to drought, disease, and insects; protect and enhance stream systems to lessen wildfire danger to communities, support water supply and drought tolerance, and provide flood attenuation while sustaining ecological functions and biological diversity; and build on prior and continuing investments in natural resources acquisitions, monitoring, technical studies and partnerships to integrate best available science into outreach efforts, policy development, regulations, incentives, and land use planning decisions.
2018 CALIFORNIA FOREST CARBON PLAN: MANAGING OUR FOREST LANDSCAPES IN A CHANGING CLIMATE
Background: The Forest Carbon Plan lays out recommended actions to achieve healthy and resilient forests based on what we know today about our forests and how climate change will evolve in California.
In Brief: As the plan notes: “The worsening threats to our forests mean we cannot wait for better information before we act, but must begin acting now and adjust these actions as we learn more over time.” The plan explains that current rates of fuel reduction, thinning of overly dense forests, and use of prescribed and managed fire are far below levels needed to restore forest health, prevent extreme fires, and meet the state’s long-term climate goals.
2018 IMPROVING CALIFORNIA’S FOREST AND WATERSHED MANAGEMENT
Background: The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) has provided fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature for 75 years, based on fiscal and programmatic expertise and nonpartisan analyses of the state budget.
In Brief: This report recognizes the statewide benefits of healthy forests and the poor conditions currently characterizing the state’s forested lands. It offers policy recommendations, including improving and increasing funding and coordination efforts, revising state policies and practices to facilitate forest health activities, improve landowner assistance programs to increase effectiveness, and expand options for using and disposing of woody biomass.
2020 GETTING TO NEUTRAL: OPTIONS FOR NEGATIVE CARBON EMISSIONS IN CALIFORNIA
Background: This groundbreaking study was conducted as part of Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s expansive energy programs work and the Laboratory’s Carbon Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to identify solutions to enable global-scale CO2 removal from the atmosphere and hit global temperature targets.
In Brief: California executive order B-55-18 mandates that the state achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and maintain net negative emissions thereafter. Achieving this goal would complete a chain of other ambitious statewide targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The LLNL study finds that, not only is carbon neutrality possible, but that California can once again be a global climate leader by demonstrating how to remove significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. Most notably, By increasing the uptake of carbon in its natural and working lands, converting waste biomass into fuels, and removing CO2 directly from the atmosphere with purpose-built machines, California can remove on the order of 125 million metric tons of CO2 per year from the atmosphere by 2045, and achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions.
QUESTIONS, CONCERNS, OR COMMENTS?
We value your input and look forward to discussing the Biomass Business Competition with you!