Hawaiian Utility Pledges Investment in Biodiesel Research

John Davis

Officials with Hawaiian Electric Co., Inc have pledged to invest an undisclosed amount of money into finding the right crops so the Aloha State can make its own fuel: biodiesel.

This story in the Pacific Business News says the utility plans to use the biodiesel it buys in its generators:

“At this stage, the most important thing we can do is this research on jatropha, on kukui nuts and other crops,” said Peter Rosegg, a spokesman for Hawaii’s largest utility, which is also the largest user of petroleum diesel in the nation.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center have been working with a range of crops to determine the best-suited options and production methods for Hawaii farmers.

The utility also will seek to jumpstart a local feedstock industry by putting its profits from a proposed biodiesel processing facility on Maui into a Biofuels Public Trust Fund in 2008 — money that will continue to fund research and development of energy crops.

The article goes on to say Hawaiian Electric will give preference to locally-grown feedstocks.