Grand Opening Held for Big Island BiodieselJuly 3, 2012, 11:43 AM HST (Updated July 4, 2012, 10:06 AM)
A grand opening was held Monday for a plant described as the state’s most advanced biodiesel production facility.
Big Island Biodiesel, the latest project of Maui-based Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, LLC, is Hawaii’s first biofuel refinery to be built since 2000 since Pacific Biodiesel’s Sand Island refinery was built on Oahu.
US Sen. Daniel Inouye, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Mayor Billy Kenoi were among the dignitaries on hand for the ceremony held at the plant site in the Shipman Business Park in Keaau.
A traditional Hawaiian blessing was given by Kahu Kimo Pihana.
The plant increases the state’s biodiesel production capacity 500%, to 5.5 million gallons per year, plant officials said. It will produce biodiesel from used cooking or grease trap oil, virgin vegetable oil and animal fats which can be used in any unmodified diesel engine.
“This is a commitment to renewable, this is a commitment to alternative, this is a commitment to energy itself and its role as a central feature of whether we can survive as a democracy in these Hawaiian Islands,” Abercrombie said at the opening.
The ceremony included tours of the plant as wall as aerial views of the plant and a nearby jatropha biofuel crop farm.
The fuel reportedly could be available commercially by this fall.