Published on July 15th, 2008 | by Courtney Carlisle Bolton12
Maui to Get Algae Facility for Biodiesel
July 15th, 2008 by Courtney Carlisle Bolton
Recognizing the potential for algae as an energy crop, a Hawaiian conglomerate has come together to pursue the joint development of a commercial-scale microalgae facility on Maui to produce lipid oil for conversion to biodiesel and other products, such as animal feed.
While a number of factors still need to be put in place before the first phase of the program can begin, the anticipated start date could be as early as 2011.
“This innovative partnership can help move Hawaii one step closer to securing energy independence and achieving our goal of having 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy come from clean sources by 2030,” said Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle.
Hoping for very high levels of oil production per acre from algae, Maui, which currently fuels about 85 percent of its combustion generation with petroleum diesel, could meet the biodiesel feedstock need with the Ma’alaea algae facility when combined with other locally grown vegetable-oil crops, such as jatropha or palm.
This innovative step is being spearheaded by HR BioPetroleum, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALEX), Hawaiian Electric Company and Maui Electric Company, subsidiaries of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HE).
“As we move toward siting an algae facility next to Maui Electric’s power plant, we will meet more of our energy needs at home and also reduce our carbon footprint,” said Dr. Karl Stahlkopf, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for energy solutions and chief technology officer. “This project entails some uncertainly. Stepping forward to be a first implementer of a new idea always does.”
“However, it unites the best of the new Hawaii high-tech industry with two long-established Hawaii infrastructure companies in a unique partnership. We have good reason to be confident it will be a step toward energy self sufficiency, not only for Hawaii but for the nation and the world,” Stahlkopf said.