Pacific Biodiesel receives grant for equipment, facility upgrades

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Pacific Biodiesel has received grant funding from the Hawaii Technology Development Corp. to help reimburse recent facility upgrades and equipment purchases at its 5.5 MMgy biodiesel plant on the big island of Hawaii and waste oil collection center on Oahu.

HTDC’s Manufacturing Assistance Program grant provides up to 20 percent reimbursement on qualified expenses. Pacific Biodiesel received reimbursement for expenses related to facility upgrades, including wastewater pretreatment equipment and a centrifuge system to increase the recovery of yellow and brown greases from trap waste at the company’s Oahu facility. Upgrades at the biodiesel production facility on Hawaii Island included construction of a new shipping and receiving loading bay, ISO container loading platform, a pretreatment filtration trough system and three new reactors for more efficient production and storage capabilities.

“This grant is a great help as it allows us to invest in new equipment to make our fuel production and oil collection more efficient,” said Jenna Long, Pacific Biodiesel operations director.

Of the 29 Hawaii-based manufacturing companies awarded funding, only six—including Pacific Biodiesel—were repeat recipients of the MAP grant funds.

“It’s great to be able to offer financial support to local manufacturers, knowing that the funding is used to improve the businesses,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC. “The grant helps companies expand their production, resulting in more jobs in Hawaii and contributing to the state’s economy overall.”

Hawaii’s economy has suffered over the past several months from volcanic activity and most recently Hurricane Lane, but Pacific Biodiesel was unscathed by the hurricane. While operations scaled down as a safeguard during the storm, activities are back to normal now.

Oil collection efforts on all islands were, however, temporarily hindered by closures. President Bob King said while the biodiesel plant ceased operations during the record rainfall—“partly because of too much water and partly due to the inter-island shipping coming to a halt with no incoming or outgoing tankers”—the ports have reopened and the plant is now running at capacity.

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