Big Island Biodiesel is Up and Running

Big Island News Center - July 3, 2012
Sherry Bracken

Another step toward energy independence was celebrated Monday at the grand opening of Big Island Biodiesel, the latest project of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, LLC. Big Island Biodiesel, LLC is Hawaii’s newest and most advanced biodiesel production facility and the first biofuel refinery to be built since 2000 when Pacific Biodiesel constructed its Sand Island refinery on Oahu. The plant is in Kea’au at the Shipman Industrial Park.

The project was the brainchild of Robert King, President of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies.

There were lots of dignitaries at the event, from U. S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye to representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Mayor Billy Kenoi, Governor Neil Abercrombie, head of the House Energy Committee State Representative Denny Coffman, State Senators Mike Gabbard (head of the Senate Energy Committee) and Gil Kahele were all there.

Senator Inouye stressed the importance of proceeding with seeking and using alternative energy sources.

Speeches were followed by a traditional Hawaiian Blessing by Kahu Kimo Pihana, who also officiated at the land blessing of Big Island Biodiesel in January of 2010 and the groundbreaking event later that year.

President of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, Bob King, and Engineering Manager Will Smith hosted tours of the refinery throughout the event. Paradise Helicopters provided aerial tours of the plant and nearby jatropha biofuel crop farm operated by Hilo resident James Twigg-Smith. Keoki Kahumoku serenaded guests at the Energy Independence Day barbeque.

With this opening, the State’s biodiesel production capacity increases 500%, to 5.5 million gallons per year.

Pacific Biodiesel’s cleaner, safer, highest-quality biodiesel is processed from used cooking or trap grease oil, virgin vegetable oil and/or animal fats, and can be used in any unmodified diesel engine.