carbon cloud lifts over Kauai ethanol plant: no coal

kauai sugar mill

Green energy advocates won a round on Kauai as Gay & Robinson announced today that coal will NOT power a proposed Kauai ethanol plant under development by Pacific West Energy (via Garden Island).

Now slated to burn bagasse instead, this $80 million project is designed to produce 12-million gallons of ethanol from sugar juice and molasses.

The ethanol plant is part of this historic sugar company’s transition to a renewable energy plantation on 7,500 acres of cane fields.

According to G&R’s Alan Kennett, “the major concern in the decision to not burn coal is not to put our entire energy plan at risk”.

Pacific West Energy President William Maloney told Apollo Kauai that "coal will not be part of our business model, as either a primary or supplemental fuel for the ethanol plant or power generation”.

Says Maloney, “we have commenced the necessary re-modeling to modify our existing air permit for the ethanol plant to convert to a biomass (bagasse) boiler."

G&R also intends to reduce and hopefully eliminate the burning of sugar cane in the fields.Construction for the plant is expected to begin by late-December or early-January and be operational by the second quarter of 2009, Kennett said.

The Gay & Robinson Ag-Energy operation would produce almost one-third of the state’s 40-million-gallon demand for ethanol, Maloney has said.

Future business plans, Maloney has said, call for a renewable energy power plant, hopefully operational within three years, that is expected to produce 25 megawatts in part from solar, biodiesel and hydro power.Later, a methane recovery system and the processing of municipal solid waste will be added to the “energy plantation,” he said.

Bravo to good buddy Ben Sullivan and the Apollo Kauai gang for persisting in what has been a marvelous learning experience.


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Published by Ken on November 11th, 2007 tagged HI-specific, Island Vulnerabilities


4 Responses to “carbon cloud lifts over Kauai ethanol plant: no coal”

  1. Elli Ward Says:

    This is great news for Kauai. Let me advocate that G&R go all the way green with biochar. This technology represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.Terra Preta Soils a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration, 1/3 Lower CH4 & N2O soil emissions, and 3X FertilityToo.

  2. J. Manawai Says:

    You all have one important fact wrong here. From day one the G&R generation plant was to be primarily bagasse-fired as its current, smaller generator is now. Coal was only going to be used as a supplemental or secondary fuel source in such times as when rainy weather curtailed harvesting and insufficient bagasse was available to burn to meet contractural commitments with KIUC. Coal costs money whereas bagasse is sitting free in fields for the harvest so it has always been more economically feasible and logical to use bagasse as the primary fuel source. This was and still is G&R's plan...to burn primarily bagasse. Just so you have it straight.

  3. Ken Says:

    Actually, as recently as last month, Alan Kennett was still saying they were looking at coal as a 'cost-reduction' strategy. Go figure...

  4. J. Manawai Says:

    I think that was as opposed to using fuel oil.