Tuesday, October 26, 2010

 

Covering the field of biofuels in Hawaii


by Larry Geller

If all energy derives from the sun (or from smashing atoms), there does seem to be a wide choice of approaches to getting hold of some of it. One can put photovoltaic cells on a rooftop, or cover a field with wind turbines. Or harness the power in waves. Or grow stuff to be used as fuel in vehicles or conventional generators. In addition to being renewable, or “green,” alternative energy holds out the promise of reducing Hawaii’s dependence on importing petroleum products.

Without arguing the case for one or the other here, the biofuel approach is interesting because it can bridge the gap. Power systems nationwide are well set up to handle conventional spinning generators. Adapting to variable sources of energy such as sun or wind is a bit of a trick. So feeding generators with tasty biofuel has a lot of appeal.

Peter Rosegg from Hawaiian Electric Company sent me this article, which appears to be a comprehensive survey of providers or potential providers of biofuel. The article is replete with links for further information.

REVIVAL! Hawai’i Bi-O style: elite squad of scientists aim to boost Hawaii via bioenergy (Biofuels Digest, 10/26/2010)

I expected a few companies in the biz: those growing stuff to burn, some collecting used oil, and others dipping into algae beds. The list is very impressive. Each project is described in brief. There’s even a mention of Pam and Pierre Omidyar’s investments in biofuel through their foundation. Click the link and check it out.

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