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updated: 8/30/2011 10:36 AM

UOP breaks ground on Hawaii biofuel system

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UOP LLC, a Des Plaines-based Honeywell company, has begun construction in Hawaii of a biofuels demonstration unit that will convert forest residuals, algae and other cellulosic biomass into green transportation fuels.

Backed by a $25 million U.S. Department of Energy award, the Honeywell UOP Integrated Biorefinery will upgrade biomass into high-quality renewable gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The project is part of the DOE's efforts to help spur the creation of the domestic biofuel industry, drive domestic job creation and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

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The project will also support the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative goal to achieve 70 percent clean energy by the year 2030.

Located at the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Kapolei, the integrated biorefinery will be used to demonstrate viability of the technology, test the fuels produced and evaluate the environmental footprint of the fuels and the process technology. The project, which will generate more than 80 new jobs during construction, is scheduled to begin initial production in 2012. It is expected to be fully operational by 2014.

"Biomass is abundantly available today, and it is an important opportunity to consider as we seek alternatives that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and improve our environmental footprint," said Jim Rekoske, vice president and general manager of Renewable Energy and Chemicals for Honeywell's UOP. "Our Integrated Biorefinery will illustrate these benefits as well the potential that biorefineries have to enhance the local economy and provide new green jobs."

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye noted the project will help Hawaii become less dependent on imported fossil fuels.

"Hawaii will play a critical role in helping the domestic biofuel industry thrive and this project will create much needed jobs in Kapolei," Inouye said. "I am also pleased that Honeywell's UOP is partnering with a number of local stakeholders including Hawaii BioEnergy, Group 70, Kai Hawaii, University of Hawaii and Leeward Community College. I will do all I can to ensure that Hawaii continues to serve as the laboratory for renewable energy initiatives in the Pacific."

Once successfully proven in this demonstration unit, a commercial-scale facility using the same technology could produce as much as 50 million gallons of drop-in green transportation fuels per year and could create as many as 800 new construction jobs and 1,000 new jobs in biomass production and refinery operations, Rekoske said.

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