Algae Firm Eyeing Plant In Poamoho
Phycal Hawaii has proposed a $65 million pilot project on 40 acres of former pineapple plantation land in Wahiawa. The project’s aim is to determine whether algae is a feasible crop for large-scale energy production in Hawaii.
The 30-day period for public comment on the proposal began June 23.
The Ohio-based energy company plans to produce algal oil by growing micro algae in shallow, open pools. Once refined, oil extracted from the algae can be used to produce diesel and jet fuel as well as fuel for power-plant turbines. Another byproduct is a light petroleum gas that can be used to make hydrogen fuel.
The proposed test facility, located on land in Poamoho leased by developer Peter Savio of Hawaiian Island Homes, will include shallow ponds for algae growth, a processing building for extraction of oil, an anaerobic digester for conversion of biomass to methane gas, and water treatment capability.
Reclaimed waste water for the ponds will be fed from a nearby sewage treatment plant, and CO2 waste, a key ingre-
dient in algae growth, will be trucked from the Tesoro refinery in Kapolei. According to a handout from Phycal president Kevin Berner to the North Shore Neighborhood Board in February, the only waste made would be sludge, which will be put back into the soil.
If successful, the initiative could help the state move close to its goal of obtaining 70 percent of its energy from clean, renewable sources by 2030. Construction is slated to begin as soon as midOctober or by early 2011. The project will run for four years and is expected to produce more than 100,000 gallons of algal oil a year. It will employ 30-plus “high-tech farmers,” of which 20 will be local and about 15 will be brought in from around the world. Residents also are looking to get Waialua High students involved, as there may be job possibilities for them in the future.
A majority of the budget — around $50 million — will be spent in Hawaii.
Send comments to Phycal Hawaii R& D, Seven Waterfront Plaza, Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 400, Honolulu, HI 96813. Mail copies to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, P.O. Box 2359, Honolulu, HI 96804, and to Group 70 International Inc., 925 Bethel St., 5th Floor, Honolulu, HI 96813.
(from left) Stacy Holbrook (call sign KH6OWL), Janna Arakaki, Chris Colquhoun (NH7QH) and Wayne Greenleaf (KH6MEI) use a homemade antenna and 500 watts of power to make radio contact to test disaster readiness. They were participating in Hawaii Emergency Amateur Radio Club’s National Field Day exercise June 26 at Wahiawa LDS church on Leilehua Road. Photo from Gary M’s Creations.