Business

Biofueled Emergency Power Generators Operational at HNL

July 2, 2017, 10:01 AM HST
* Updated June 29, 3:02 PM
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Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Electric Company.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (DOT) Airports Division and Hawaiian Electric Company have announced that a new bio-fueled Emergency Power Facility (EPF) at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is now up and running.

The state-owned and -built EPF uses four generators capable of cranking out up to 10 megawatts of power. The facility is being used by Hawaiian Electric to provide electricity to the grid during non-emergencies. In the event of damage to the island’s power grid, the system can operate independently to provide backup power for the entire airport.

Final testing of the EPF was completed in June, and the plant began generating energy for the grid on the weekend of June 24, 2017. Initial construction of the facility was completed in 2014 at a cost of $23 million.

Hawaiian Electric is paying DOT’s Airports Division to use the EPF, and covering maintenance costs for the generators.

“Continuing operations at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport during and after a catastrophic event is critical for the state,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation director. “The EPF is better for the environment since it works on biofuels instead of fossil fuels, further adding to its benefit.”

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The EPF was engineered to withstand a Category 5 hurricane and extreme earthquakes. It can also be powered by jet fuel in an emergency.

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“This is a great example of a public-private partnership that provides benefits to our community and to the tourism industry,” said Ron Cox, senior vice president of operations for Hawaiian Electric. “These new, efficient generators are a cost-effective addition to the resources available to meet the island’s energy needs.”

The joint-operating arrangement between Hawaiian Electric and DOT’s Airports Divisions is believed to be the first of its kind at a major U.S. airport.

 

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