Categorized | Business

Big Island Carbon picks up Pualu Award for business innovation


Big Island Carbon, LLC has been awarded a 2009 Pualu Award for Business Innovation by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

In its recognition of Big Island Carbon, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce noted that at a time when most businesses are holding back with the uncertainties of this current economic time, Big Island Carbon is moving ahead unflinchingly with the construction of its $26 million dollar manufacturing plant. 

The plant, in the Kaie Hana Industrial Park at Kawaihae on land leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, is near a developing workforce. The area neighbors a deep-sea harbor, easing the shipping process and mitigating traffic congestion by limiting long truck transportation. 

With proven science, BIC took an innovative idea using a sustainable Big Island by-product, macadamia shell, and developed a method for carbon conversion. 

It took considerable time to develop the process but when the plant is switched on later this year, BIC will produce a quality activated carbon product ready for world-wide distribution. 

When ground was broken in March, Gov. Linda Lingle, Mayor Billy Kenoi and DHHL Director Micah Kane each cited the importance of the project’s innovation, which will integrate agriculture and high technology bringing macadamia nut shell from Big Island macadamia processors together with a technology for biomass conversion. 

The project fits well with the state’s efforts to reduce its dependency on foreign oil, is in line with DHHL’s energy policy goals and creates more than 100 construction jobs and, upon project completion, 30 plant jobs for island workers. 

Further validation for Big Island Carbon’s business innovation award is that the company has turned a problem for Macadamia growers into an agricultural resource for the expansion of alternative energy resources. 

Growers have had to pay to have their shells removed and hauled to island landfills. Big Island Carbon will now pay the farmers for the shell to use in the bio conversion process.

Biomass conversion is a high tech industry that will convert feedstock (macadamia nut shells) produced on island into Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), a valuable product for sale in national and international markets to pharmaceutical, environmental, and other industries.  

A significant quantity of biofuel, a by-product of the process, will be sold for use on the island as well. 

Big Island Carbon is a start up company that will bring macadamia shell from Big Island macadamia processors together with new technology modified to fit specific requirements.  

Two major processes will convert macadamia shell feedstock, currently a largely underutilized product from macadamia processing, into granular activated carbon (GAC) in a biomass conversion process.

The output of this high tech operation will be sold to specialty users in the upper end of the growing market for GAC in a world increasingly demanding products that clean up gas and liquid phase materials to eliminate pollutants and impurities.  

GAC is the product commonly used in water filters and gas masks, and it has a wide variety of other applications.

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