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$48M stimulus to fund alternative energy plans


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POSTED: Saturday, December 05, 2009

The U.S. Department of Energy will pump $48 million in federal stimulus money into two Hawaii alternative-energy products, it was announced yesterday.

The initiatives will create more than 600 jobs on Oahu and the Big Island, according to a statement from Hawaii Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka.

The department said the Kapolei Integrated Bio-refinery project will receive up to $25 million in economic stimulus funding to help build and operate a pilot facility. UOP LLC of Kapolei will integrate technology from Canadian company Ensyn and from UOP to produce green gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from agricultural residue, wood biomass, dedicated energy crops and algae, according to the department.

UOP will test a variety of biomass feedstocks at Tesoro's hydrogen conversion-based fuels refinery in Kapolei during the pilot phase but will utilize only locally grown feedstocks once commercial scale production levels are achieved.

In addition, Clear Fuels Technology, a Hawaii company founded in 1998, will receive $23 million, according to the senators. Clear Fuels Technology will use the money to demonstrate the technology and invest in integrated bio-refinery facilities in Hawaii and on the mainland in 2011, according to Inouye and Akaka. Clear Fuels Technology partners include the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and Hawaiian Electric Co.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the federal government is funding 19 integrated bio-refinery projects in 15 states that will receive up to $564 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding from the department.

“;Advanced biofuels are critical to building a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system in the U.S.”; Chu said in a news release. “;These projects will help establish a domestic industry that will create jobs here at home and open new markets across rural America.”;

The projects will help lay the foundation for full commercial-scale development of a biomass industry in the United States, he said.

Akaka said in a statement: “;Biofuel has the potential to reduce Hawaii's reliance on imported oil, which pollutes our air and sends our money overseas, with a renewable energy source which we can grow in the islands, creating jobs that cannot be exported.

“;These major federal grants are a significant step toward achieving energy independence for Hawaii.”;