UOP, a honeywell company, has broken ground on a biofuels demonstration plant in Hawaii that will convert forest waste, algae and other cellulosic biomass to fuel. The project is being helped along by a $25 million U.S. Department of Energy grant. The project will help meet federal biofuel mandates as well as help Hawaii reach its clean energy goals of producing 70 percent of its energy from “clean” sources by 2030.
The Integrated Biorefinery will be located at the Tesora Corp. refinery in Kapolei. The goal of the plant is to prove out the viability of the technology, test the fuels produced and evaluate the environmental footprint of the fuel. The first phase of production is expected to be begin in 2012 with the plant fully operational by 2014.
“Biomass is abundantly available today, and it is an important opportunity to consider as we seek alternatives that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and improve our environmental footprint,” said Jim Rekoske, vice president and general manager of Renewable Energy and Chemicals for Honeywell’s UOP.
“Our Integrated Biorefinery will illustrate these benefits as well the potential that biorefineries have to enhance the local economy and provide new green jobs. Our island home is far too dependent on imported fossil fuels, and I am very pleased that this alternative energy initiative has the support of the federal government,” he added.
According to Rekoske, once the technology is proven out, it could produce up to 50 million gallons of drop-in fuels. The Integrated Biorefinery is testing the RTP, rapid thermal processing technology to convert the biomass to biofuels.
Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye said of the project, “Hawaii will play a critical role in helping the domestic biofuel industry thrive and this project will create much needed jobs in Kapolei. I am also pleased that Honeywell’s UOP is partnering with a number of local stakeholders including Hawaii BioEnergy, Group 70, Kai Hawaii, University of Hawaii and Leeward Community College. I will do all I can to ensure that Hawaii continues to serve as the laboratory for renewable energy initiatives in the Pacific.”