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Biodiesel Expert to Speak on ‘Fuels and Transportation’

March 10, 2014, 12:48 PM HST
* Updated March 10, 3:46 PM
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An early participant in the field of commercial biofuels will be the featured speaker next week at the third in a series of free lectures on energy being held in Kona.

Kelly King, vice president and co-founder of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, will talk on “Fuels and Transportation” on Wednesday, March 19. The presentation will be held at the NELHA Gateway Visitor Center in Keahole, several miles north of Kailua-Kona.

The latest entry in the Exceptional Energy Lecture Series starts at 5:30 p.m.

King and her husband, Robert King, cofounded Pacific Biodiesel on Maui in 1996.

Initially created to alleviate the disposal of waste cooking oil at Maui’s landfill, the company was the first commercial biodiesel firm in the US, Friends of NELHA said in a press release.

Kelly King, the company’s director of marketing and communications, has helped develop 13 biodiesel plants in the US and Japan, including one on Oahu and another which opened in 2012 in Keaau.

The Big Island Biodiesel plant in Keaau. Courtesy photo.

The Big Island Biodiesel plant in Keaau. Courtesy photo.

Company officials say the Keaau plant uses the most up-to-date technology to generate up to 5.5 million gallons of biodiesel annually.

Since its founding, Pacific Biodiesel has been involved in all aspects of the biodiesel business, from fuel-crop research and waste oil collection to fuel processing, quality management, and distribution. The company designs, owns, builds and operates scalable, multiple-feedstock biodiesel plants utilizing used cooking oil, yellow grease, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, tallow and other feedstocks.

In 2006, Kelly along with Daryl Hannah and Willie and AnnieNelson co-founded the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that is developing a certification process for sustainable biodiesel practices.

In Hawaii, Kelly has been active as a board member on many local nonprofits and served on the Hawaii State Board of Education, representing Maui County. She is currently chair of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and serves on the board of Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance, Hawaii Energy Policy Forum, and UHMC Sustainable Sciences Management Advisory Council.

She is working on several agriculture-related projects with Pacific Biodiesel, and has encouraged state lawmakers to consider a research project focusing on hemp as feedstock and other uses.

The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series consists of five lectures sponsored in part by the Hawaii Energy Resource Center, a component of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development.

Call (808) 329-8073 for more information.

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