An energy company on the Big Island will receive a $5 million loan guarantee from the federal government to help finish construction of a manufacturing plant in Kawaihae.
The announcement was made Thursday in a Washington news release by Hawaii’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka.
Big Island Carbon’s $25 million plant will convert discarded macadamia nut shells into a product that can generate power, filter air and purify water.
Plans call for the company to buy about 10,000 tons of more than 20,000 tons of shells produced annually on the Big Island to convert into 1,000 tons of granular activated carbon.
Big Island Carbon will power its own operations. Any excess biofuel or gas will be sold on the island.
Hawaiian sugar grower working on crops to fuel ships, planes. HONOLULU — The federal government has turned to a 130-year-old Hawaii sugar grower for help in powering the Navy and weaning the nation off a heavy reliance on fossil fuels.
It will spend at least $10 million over the next five years to fund research and development at Maui cane fields for crops capable of fueling Navy fighter jets and ships. The project also may provide farmers in other warm climates with a model for harvesting their biofuel crops.
Hawaii has become a key federal laboratory for biofuels because of its dependence on imported oil as well as its great weather for growing crops. Factor in the heavy military presence at places such as Pearl Harbor, and the islands become an ideal site for the government to test biofuel ideas on a commercial scale.
“Hawaii is kind of the perfect storm of opportunity,” said Tom Hicks, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for energy. Continue reading
Navy fighter jets and ship could be powered by biofuels grown in Hawaii under an effort funded by the federal government.
The government is spending at least $10 million over five years on research and development at Maui cane fields for crops capable of fueling Navy fighter jets and ships. The project also may provide farmers in other warm climates with a model for harvesting biofuel crops.
Hawaii has become a key federal laboratory for biofuels because of its dependence on imported oil and its great weather for growing crops. It also has a large military presence.
The Office of Naval Research is funding the five-year program at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar, a company dating to the 1870s that runs the last sugar plantation in the state.
SAN DIEGO — In a laboratory where almost all the test tubes look green, the tools of modern biotechnology are being applied to lowly pond scum.
Foreign genes are being spliced into algae and native genes are being tweaked.
Different strains of algae are pitted against one another in survival-of-the-fittest contests in an effort to accelerate the evolution of fast-growing, hardy strains.
The goal is nothing less than to create superalgae, highly efficient at converting sunlight and carbon dioxide into lipids and oils that can be sent to a refinery and made into diesel or jet fuel.
“We’ve probably engineered over 4,000 strains,” said Mike Mendez, a co-founder and vice president for technology at Sapphire Energy, the owner of the laboratory. “My whole goal here at Sapphire is to domesticate algae, to make it a crop.”
Secretary Chu Announces Six Projects to Convert Captured CO2 Emissions from Industrial Sources into Useful Products
$106 Million Recovery Act Investment will Reduce CO2 Emissions and Mitigate Climate Change
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the selections of six projects that aim to find ways of converting captured carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial sources into useful products such as fuel, plastics, cement, and fertilizers. Funded with $106 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -matched with $156 million in private cost-share -today’s selections demonstrate the potential opportunity to use CO2 as an inexpensive raw material that can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions while producing useful by-products that Americans can use.
“These innovative projects convert carbon pollution from a climate threat to an economic resource,” said Secretary Chu. “This is part of our broad commitment to unleash the American innovation machine and build the thriving, clean energy economy of the future.”
Converting captured CO2 into products such as chemicals, carbonates, plastics, fuels, building materials, and other commodities is an important aspect of carbon capture and storage technology. Converting CO2 into other useful forms can help reduce carbon emissions in areas where long-term storage of CO2 is not practical. It is anticipated that large volumes of CO2 will be available as fossil fuel-based power plants and other CO2-emitting industries are equipped with CO2 emissions control technologies to comply with regulatory requirements.
The projects announced today were initially selected for a first phase funding in October 2009 as part of a $1.4 billion effort to capture CO2 from industrial sources for storage or beneficial use. Over the succeeding months, the project teams have performed experiments on innovative concepts and produced preliminary designs for pilot plants to study the feasibility of capturing and using CO2 exhausted from industrial processes. The selected projects now enter a second phase in which researchers design, construct, and operate their innovations at pilot-scale and evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of applying them commercially.
The projects selected to demonstrate the beneficial use of CO2 include:
Phycal, LLC (Highland Heights, Ohio)-Phycal will complete development of an integrated system designed to produce liquid biocrude fuel from microalgae cultivated with captured CO2. The algal biocrude can be blended with other fuels for power generation or processed into a variety of renewable drop-in replacement fuels such as jet fuel and biodiesel. Phycal will design, build, and operate a CO2-to-algae-to-biofuels facility at a nominal thirty acre site in Central O’ahu (near Wahiawa and Kapolei), Hawaii. Hawaii Electric Company will qualify the biocrude for boiler use, and Tesoro will supply CO2 and evaluate fuel products. (DOE Share: $24,243,509) Continue reading
two surviving ventures face high hurdles
Ask just about anyone involved in the effort to start a home-grown ethanol industry in Hawaii and invariably the word "challenging" comes up.
Challenging, it turns out, is an understatement.
Four years ago companies were lining up to build ethanol production facilities in Hawaii after the state launched a program that offered generous tax credits and set a mandate that most gasoline sold in the state must contain 10 percent of the renewable fuel. Soaring ethanol prices, which hit a record $4.23 a gallon in the summer of 2006, also spurred interest. On the mainland, dozens of corn-based ethanol plants sprouted up across the Great Plains.
In Hawaii, meanwhile, plans were moving forward to erect ethanol plants that would mostly use sugar cane or sugar cane byproducts as a feedstock. Before any of the companies could get their permits approved, however, the price of ethanol collapsed, falling as low as $1.40 a gallon in late 2008. In addition to falling prices, difficulty in securing land to grow feedstocks and dwindling investor interest have made it difficult to get any new processing facilities up and running.
There were plans in recent years to build at least six plants in Hawaii to produce ethanol, an alcohol-based renewable fuel that can be made from a variety of organic materials, including sugar cane. Of the original six that were planned, only two are still on the books, and neither has a target date to begin construction.
Hawaii and the Pacific Basin
The dwindling global supply of fossil fuels and the resulting escalation in prices has set the stage for entry of commercial biofuel produced from biomass, including co-products and bi-products. This transition in the energy sector’s feed stocks offers Hawaii a unique opportunity to locally produce biofuel from locally produced biomass feed stocks, and ultimately support the stabilization of the state’s energy resources; increase the local circulation of energy dollars; and further under gird Hawaii’s agricultural industry.
In October 2009, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced plans for a “Great Green Fleet” to demonstrate that Navy and Marine Corps ships and aircraft could operate utilizing non-fossil fuels by year 2016. In January, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Secretary Mabus to support the biomass and biofuel development that would ultimately fuel the Green Fleet. Hawaii was selected as a pilot region, with USDA providing the “push” through research and business incentives and the Navy making the “pull” with plans for purchase of biofuel from locally produced biomass. Continue reading
Local production is the key to gradually moving the state away from imported fuel
The state’s quest for energy independence took a step forward with Hawaiian Electric Co. receiving bids from 10 companies seeking to supply the utility with biofuel produced locally to burn in its power plants.
There are a number of potential biofuel feedstocks that can be produced in Hawaii, including:
» Sugar cane
» Invasive trees
» Waste products
HECO said it would begin buying the renewable fuel over the next five years, starting with small amounts and gradually expanding its intake as the fledgling biofuel industry matures in Hawaii.
"We are pleased with the strong response," said HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg.
The deadline for companies to submit bids was Friday, and HECO is now evaluating the proposals. The names of the companies will not be made public until the winning bid or bids are announced.
HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. has hired Anna Skrobecki to be the company’s senior vice president for factory and power plant operations. HC&S General Manager Christopher Benjamin said in a statement that Skrobecki has extensive experience in industrial processing plants.
Benjamin said this will help the sugar plantation as it researches alternative processing methods for biofuels.
The Navy and U.S. Department of Energy earlier this year announced they would spend several million dollars researching biofuel production at HC&S’ sugar cane fields on Maui. Skrobecki most recently was operations vice president at Wausau Paper in Wisconsin.
She also worked for Weyerhaeuser and James River Corp.
June 3 (Bloomberg) — Inside an industrial warehouse in South San Francisco, California, Harrison Dillon, chief technology officer of startup Solazyme Inc., examines a beaker filled with a brown paste made of sugar cane waste. While the smell brings to mind molasses, this goo, called bagasse, won’t find its way into people-pleasing confections.
Instead, scientists will empty it into 5-gallon metal flasks of algae and water. The algae will gorge on the treat — filling themselves with fatty oils as they double in size every six hours, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its July issue.
Down the hall, past a rainbow of algae strains arrayed in Petri dishes, Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Wolfson shows off a gallon-size bottle of slightly viscous liquid. After drying the algae, wringing out the oil and shipping it to a refinery, this is the prize: diesel fuel that Wolfson says is chemically indistinguishable from its petroleum-based equivalent and which has already powered a Jeep Liberty and a Mercedes Benz sedan.
“We’ve produced tens of thousands of gallons, and by the end of 2010, I hope I can say we’ve produced hundreds of thousands,” Wolfson, 39, says. “In the next two years, we should get the cost down to the $60 to $80-a-barrel range.”
At that price, Solazyme’s algae fuel would compete with $80-a-barrel oil.