By Edwin Taqji
Advertiser Maui County Bureau

Maui company turns waste grease into diesel fuel

PUUNENE, Maui – A Maui company that developed a small-scale plant to turn waste cooking grease into an alternative fuel for diesel engines is building a plant in Japan. Pacific Biodiesel did not disclose the price for the facility it will sell to Yoshida & Co, of Nagano. Maui County recycling coordinator Hana Steel said she expects it to be the first such Plant to be sold by Pacific Biodiesel to Pacific Rim countries. The technology for turning waste and oil into “biodiesel” has been available for years. But the Maui-based Company is the first to develop a viable Small-scale plant suit able for isolated areas such as Maui, Steel said. “It is a technology that will be useful to other islands and small communities throughout the Pacific,” Steel said. In large cities, where there are large quantities of waste cooking-oils, there already was a market for the waste product as fuel or in feed, she said. But in smaller communities such as Maui, she said, waste oil has just been placed in landfills. Pacific Biodiesel developed a system that can recycle relatively small amounts of used cooking oils. The Nagano biodiesel production plant will recycle about 200 000 gallons a year. It is about the same size as Pacific’s pilot plant at Puunene, which is handling about 150,000 gallons a year. The Nagano plant will dispose of waste oil during the 1998 Winter Olympics and will serve as a demonstration facility for recycling cooking grease for an alternative fuel, she said. Pacific Biodiesel started up it’s pilot plant at Puunene last November. It is taking waste cooking oils from Maui restaurants, processing the oil into biodiesel and glycerin, and selling the biodiesel as fuel to Maui County, farmers, boat operators and businesses with standby diesel generators. Pacific Biodiesel partner Bob King said biodiesel burns cleaner than diesel because it contains no sulfur compounds.