Biodiesel Making Hawaii Even Greener

John Davis

pacificbiodieselHawaii is well known for its lush green countryside, but the Big Island is going to be even greener, environmentally, thanks to biodiesel. This article from the Hawaii Tribune-Herald says Hawaii County is half a year into a successful switch using B20, a 20 percent blend of the green fuel with conventional diesel.

County deputy managing director Randy Kurohara said in an email the shift first was considered in August 2013, when the county’s Research and Development Department began to look for new ways of reducing fossil-fuel dependence. Previous discussions about the matter centered on reducing dependence in electricity production as opposed to transportation fuels, Kurohara said.

The county fleet of diesel vehicles consists of the Hele-On buses in addition to highway trucks and some off-road vehicles. Converting the fleet also was a recommendation of the county’s Energy Sustainability Program, which was released in 2012.

“It puts us in a great position to lead by example, and we have a facility here that actually produces high-quality biodiesel,” Kurohara said.

The Pacific Biodiesel plant in Keaau opened in 2012 and is capable not only of refining biodiesel but distilling it. The distillation capabilities mean more types of waste products can be converted to fuel.

“Nothing has changed in how we received the fuel,” said county mass transit administrator Tiffany Kai. “We have a fueling company that comes down to the county baseyard and the tank is there.”

“In the long run, we’re going to see the benefits,” Kai said.

The county will use an estimated 1 million gallons of biodiesel during this fiscal year.