Biodiesel A Big Hit

Bob King
Bob King
Alan Kennett
Alan Kennett

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's been selling biodiesel fuel for less than a week but the 76 station on Nimitz Highway may already have a hit on its hands.

Managers said its already selling better than regular diesel ever did. Industry experts said its another sign alternative fuels are ready to take off.

"It was the first station in the state that's got pure biodiesel at a mainstream name brand station," said Bob King of Pacific Biodiesel.

Pacific Biodiesel first developed its processing plant to reduce the amount of cooking oil dumped into landfills.

"I think this a nice first step for the community that biodiesel is going mainstream, it's available, it's going to be more available in the future," King said.

Now it hopes to produce 10 million gallons a year by 2010.

"That doesn't give us very long to get there and we're going to push pretty aggressively to get production plants put in," King said.

Biodiesel is made out of vegetable oil. However that's not the only agricultural product produced in Hawaii which could be converted into automotive fuel.

Sugar plantations hope to expand production to take advantage of the state's requirement that ethanol be sold at local gas stations.

"I have a plant that's 50 percent underutilized," said Alan Kennett of Gay & Robinson.

"I produce 50 thousand tons of sugar, I could produce 100 thousand tons of sugar," Kennett said. "So I could bring in a lot more cane and produce a lot more energy."

With gas prices rising, King said the political will exists to push alternative fuels forward.

"This is new, this is different," King said. "Things are changing and we've got to find another way."