LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new survey will help Kauai officials explore the possibility of using commercial food waste to fuel the county's bus fleet and other vehicles. The questionnaire is part of a feasibility study that began in July. Restaurants, grocers, schools, hospitals, and other food service establishments are being asked to fill out the survey about the amount of food waste they generate.
"We need the information because I say we take care of the emotional side up front and then take that information and incorporate that into what we need to do to better manage our waste system," explained Bernard Carvalho, Jr., mayor of Kauai County.
Carvalho said food waste that would normally go to the Kekaha Landfill could be converted to a natural gas that would power The Kauai Bus and other county vehicles. He also wants to use gas collected directly from the landfill to fuel vehicles and possibly produce electricity.
"We're moving into designs and operations, discussions on how we're going to retrofit our buses and when we purchase new buses, so they can incorporate this type of methane," said Carvalho.
"It has to be cleaned up through a process that is fairly energy intensive, takes out the impurities, and takes out the carbon dioxide and other things, and it's upgraded into CNG which is basically what you and I know as natural gas," said Ben Sullivan, energy coordinator for Kauai County.
The study will help to determine the price tag and whether these proposals are realistic for the island.
"Vehicle conversions are a part of that and fueling stations are a part of that, the cost to build generators, the cost for the cleanup equipment for the gas, the cost to move the gas because our landfill is out in Kekaha," said Sullivan.
"How wonderful would that be if all of our buses on Kauai were fueled by this methane that is just dissipating as we speak?" said Carvalho.
Here is a link to the survey: