future fuels from fallow fields

Hawaii Bioenergy

Hawaii's "green" future may reverse the islands' current situation from fragile energy importer to robust biofuel exporter if new ventures like Hawai`i Bioenergy succeed.

This consortium, with several of the islands' largest landholders and prominent technology and venture partners, is focusing its collective resources on integrating emerging oleo-fuels technologies with Hawaii's vast, solar, land and water resources.

Besides sugarcane-- whose demise left tens of thousands of acres of fallow cane land across the islands-- the consortium will explore a variety of new enzymatic and advanced processing technologies that allow ethanol to be refined from switchgrass, pineapple by-products and other crops. Unlike corn-based biofuels, Hawai`i BioEnergy's focus is on true positive net energy balance fuels.

According to Vinod Khosla, a founder of Sun Microsystems who has joined the consortium, Hawai`i BioEnergy will "provide a framework where expertise in renewable fuels and new venture development converge to advance energy security for Hawai`i."

Khosla joins David Cole from ML&P and others from Kamehameha Schools and Brasil Bioenergia in this nimble and savvy venture.

Hawai`i already requires almost all gasoline sold in the islands to contain ten percent ethanol, and a recent "Biofuels Summit" generated broad support for incentives and infrastructure planning to jumpstart the industry in the islands.

These initiatives prompted one observer to call Hawai`i the "Saudi Arabia of the Pacific" and predict the islands will be able to produce much more bioenergy than we can ever consume ourselves.

Other observers say the large amounts of highly productive land, world-leading crop-growing technology and Hawaii's year-round sunny climate and rich soil could make Hawai`i BioEnergy the first potentially economical and sustainable biofuels company in the United States, with the potential to be the AOL of biofuels companies. (BTW, notice that Steve Case's name keeps popping up in Hawaii's sustainability movement?)

Published by Ken on October 1st, 2006 tagged Climate Change, HI-specific


One Response to “future fuels from fallow fields”

  1. Forest James (EnerTribe)(Eprida) Says:

    Just thought I would drop a comment on the blog regaurding converting Bio-Mass into energy and would love to talk to Dave Cole about not only being able to get Bio-Fuels and and Elec. we could also have a Bi-product of a Carbon Sequestering Fertilizer Via Pyrolysis and the Haeber Bosch Process. Check out the projects Eprida is up to whith Sequestering Carbon with the plants as a Terra Pretta soil Amendment.
    Feel free to email me anytime,
    Aloha,
    Forest James