Clean Cities has a crush on biofuels

Contact: Bryan Collins, Project Director, 808-280-5947, Bruce S. Anderson, President, Oceanic Institute, 808-259-3123.

As part of a project funded by the U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Air Division, an informational workshop was held at Oceanic Institute, an affiliate of Hawai’i Pacific University yesterday, June 5th. The project is led by Honolulu Clean Cities with collaborators Oceanic Institute, Pacific Biodiesel, Grace Pacific, Hawai’i Agriculture Research Center, and University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The purpose of the project is to explore and evaluate plant species currently growing in Hawai’i to determine their suitability for producing biodiesel. The information gathered from the project will be valuable for identifying which crops already growing in Hawai’i might have the greatest potential to support large scale biodiesel production in Hawai’i. Crops evaluated will include coconut, kukui, jatropha and castor. The plant material of each crop will be analyzed to determine oil extraction yields, potential byproducts, biodiesel processing characteristics, fuel quality potential and emission profiles.

Oil extraction methods were discussed and demonstrated by Insta-Pro International, a manufacturer of oil extraction equipment, and Oceanic Institute. Further discussion on the future of biodiesel production in Hawai’i was led by Hawai’i-based Pacific Biodiesel, a nationally recognized pioneer in the Biodiesel industry. Oilseed extrusion and press equipment which was obtained through the EPA grant was used to extract the oil from coconut and kukui fruits. This marked the first time kukui had been processed in this manner and is an important step towards utilizing kukui as a feedstock for biodiesel. The vegetable oil which was extracted during the workshop will be processed into biodiesel by Pacific Biodiesel and tested to ASTM quality. Once the fuel has met rigorous quality standards, it will be sent to Grace Pacific for emissions testing. The plant material by-product from the extracting process, or press cake, will be studied by Oceanic Institute to determine its potential as an ingredient in fish or animal feeds to help support Hawaii’s livestock industries.

The information generated by this “Biodiesel from Fuel Crops in Hawai’i” project will supplement ongoing research to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of crushing, biodiesel manufacture, and co-product processing. The ultimate goal is to encourage development of biofuel resources in Hawaii to lessen the state’s dependence on imported petroleum fuels and reduce diesel emissions throughout the state.

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Clean Cities has a crush on biofuels