Big Island Biodiesel Grand Opening July 2
A grand opening will be held July 2 for the Big Island Biodiesel plant.
The ceremony at the facility on Mikahala Street in the Shipman Business Park in Kea‘au is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon.
Company officials said the ceremony will be followed by an “old-fashioned American Independence Day barbeque.”
The plant has a capacity of 16,000 gallons of biodiesel a day.
Kelly King, vice president for parent company Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, said the plant will employ about 20 people when running at full capacity.
The company held a job fair at the site in March that drew 150 applicants.
About 85 people have been employed in the construction of the $13 million plant, company officials said.
According to King, a “wet-testing” of the plant using water will occur within a week of the opening. Production of biodiesel from used cooking oil will begin a few weeks later.
King said the production will begin gradually as the company secures additional sources of cooking oil and other feedstock, including oil from a jatropha farm in the Keaau area.
Because of the lack of feedstock it will take at least two or three years before the plant could be operating at its full capacity of 5.5 million gallons a day, she said.
“We don’t have that much grease in the state of Hawaii right now,” King said.
The plant is considering shipping in used cooking oil from out of state but that will be dependent on pricing, she said.