Categorized | Business, Energy

Fed funds for biofuel initiatives mean Big Isle jobs


Hawaii will receive $48 million to fund a bio-refinery plant in Kapolei and to test and produce green gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from agricultural residue, woody biomass, dedicated energy crops, and algae, U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka have announced.

UOP, a Honeywell company working with the Kapolei Integrated Bio-refinery will receive $25 million and Clear Fuels Technology, a Hawaii-based company founded in 1998, will receive $23 million.

The initiatives will create more than 600 jobs on Oahu and the Big Island. The announcement did not include specific information on the Big Island job opportunities.

“More than 90 percent of Hawaii’s energy is the product of imported fossil fuels leaving our residents and visitors at the mercy of fluctuating energy markets abroad,” Inouye said.

“Hawaii has the agricultural land and resources to produce an array of feed stocks for the production of bio-fuels that could replace imported oil” he said. “Not only will this investment improve our renewable energy portfolio, but biomass feed stock cultivation, harvesting, processing and transport will create jobs and diversify Hawaii’s economy.”

Akaka said the federal grants are a significant step toward achieving energy independende.

“Biofuel has the potential to reduce Hawaii’s reliance on imported oil, which pollutes our air and sends our money overseas, with a renewable energy source which we can grow in the islands, creating jobs that cannot be exported,” Akaka said.

The money comes through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

UOP will test a variety of biomass feed stocks at Tesoro’s hydrogen conversion-based fuels refinery in Kapolei during the pilot phase but will utilize only locally grown feed stocks once commercial scale production levels are achieved.

Clear Fuels Technology will use the funds to demonstrate the technology and invest in integrated bio-refinery facilities in Hawaii and on the mainland in 2011.

Clear Fuels Technology partners include the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and the Hawaiian Electric Company.

The Hawaii projects are two of 19 integrated bio-refinery projects to receive up to $564 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate the construction and operation of pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale facilities.

The projects – in Hawaii and 14 other states – will validate refining technologies and help lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of a biomass industry in the United States.

The projects selected today will produce advanced bio-fuels, bio-power, and bio-products using biomass feed stocks at the pilot, demonstration, and full commercial scale.

The projects are part of the ongoing effort to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, spur the creation of the domestic bio-industry and provide new jobs in many rural areas of the country.

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