Maui Biofuels

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The New York Times had an article the other day on efforts to develop the biofuels industry in Hawaii. With sugar cane a far more efficient source of ethanol than corn, the potential for biofuels production is clear. The business case is enhanced when you look at Hawaii’s energy dependence and a need to rely on imported fuels. The article focuses on a company by the name of Hawaii Bioenergy which includes one of Maui’s biggest landowners and developers Maui Land and Pineapple, international groups, AOL co-founder Stephen Case and famed venture capitalist Stephen Khosla. Their group is focused on resurrecting a lot of the fallow agricultural fields throughout the islands. They are not the only group looking at biofuel production. On Maui, Hawaii Commercial and Sugar is looking at its own ethanol options. Additionally, biodiesel production is a growing industry. Pacific Biodiesel has been using recycled vegetable oil on island for some time. Maui Electric Company is partnering with a mainland company to build a biodiesel refinery and plant that will help power one of Maui Electric’s main power plants for the island. The company will initially rely on imported palm oil with the hope of switching to Maui grown biofuels in the near future. It will be exciting and interesting to watch the emergence of green energy on Maui and the rest of the Hawaiian Islands.

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