Categorized | Business

Big Island Carbon receives state clean air permit


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) District 9 in San Francisco has reviewed and approved Big Island Carbon’s Clean Air Permit application prepared by Hawaii ’s State Department of Health. The permit has now been issued.

The Big Island Carbon plant has been operating on a non-covered source permit while working through the state and federal processes for the Covered Source Clean Air Permit which will allow the company’s Power Plant to be installed.

“The EPA’s issuance of our Clean Air Permit means two important things,” Big Island Carbon CEO Rick Vidgen said. “First, it means we can operate our plant the way it was designed to operate — clean and green. And secondly, it supports the fact that we are fully capturing and reusing much of what would otherwise be burned in a flare stack by producing most of our power from the manufacturing process itself. This clean, green technology allows us to be environmentally prudent, lower our energy costs and importantly, contribute to our bottom line.”

Big Island Carbon’s technical process produces a gas energy stream that will be used to generate internal power with the recovered energy being used in a closed system process to make activated carbon in a highly efficient and highly sustainable process and system.

Big Island Carbon has developed a carbon plant that is state of the art and technologically unique in the world. Big Island Carbon has the first plant of its kind that has successfully developed a process to utilize macadamia nut shells as feedstock to produce premium specialty Granular Activated Carbon. The start-up company has 25 full-time workers.

Big Island Carbon integrates biomass material (macadamia nut shell) from Big Island macadamia processors together with cutting-edge technology developed for activated carbon production.

Activated carbon is a critical component that cleans up or improves the performance of products from cell phones to wind turbines. Other diverse uses include gold refining and catalyst support for the pharmaceutical industry. Activated Carbon has recently found extensive use in cleaning up some aspects of nuclear accidents.

Big Island Carbon was recently awarded a Best in Business Innovation Award for Hawaii County from the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee. Big Island Carbon will be one of 5 Hawaii companies featured during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Week in November.

Big Island Carbon will be highlighted within displays at the Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and the U.S. National Center for APEC CEO Summit at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and receive a feature profile in APEC Hawaii TV in-room hotel channel, APEC 2011 Hawaii virtual online exhibit, and the special edition Hawaii Business magazine that will be distributed to APEC delegates.

Big Island Carbon is a high technology start up company with $40+-million in private equity capital funding that is bringing macadamia shell from Big Island macadamia processors together with new technology modified to fit specific requirements.

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

The output of this operation will be sold for use in higher value specialty applications in the growing market for GAC in a world increasingly demanding products that clean up gas and liquid phase materials to eliminate pollutants and impurities.

Ninety-percent of the start up funding was secured through Denham Capital, a leading energy-focused global private equity firm. The project also received a $5 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The plant is located in Kawaihae on Hawaii ’s Big Island on land leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

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