Same Old Piggy With Lipstick & A Dress

Richard Ha writes:

Aina Koa Pono (AKP) just announced plans to bring a trailerable "Micro Dee" process to Ka‘u to demonstrate the pyrolysis oil process.

That liquid is not drop-in diesel.

  • It still needs to be sent through a refinery so that it can meet fuel specifications.
  • After refining, rate payers will still subsidize the fuel to the tune of $200 per barrel.

It kind of looks like the same old piggy but with lipstick and a pretty dress.

From the Aina Koa Pono press release:

….Our plan is to start with one, 33-ton-a-day unit so the community can see and understand the Micro Dee (Microwave Thermo Catalytic Depolymerization) process in place. AKP and its engineering, construction and procurement partner, AECOM Technology, are focused on final plans for this trailerable unit; we’re performing final validation on technology so investors are confident as we move ahead. We expect to locate the 33-ton unit in Hawaii within the next several months and be operational before second quarter, 2014.

AKP has 12,000 acres on which to produce the crop they need to make fuel. Palm oil is the only crop that can compete with oil in the biodiesel space. It yields approximately 500 gallons/ acre.

Assuming – and this is a huge assumption – that AKP gets the same yield as palm oil produces, they might get 6 million gallons annually from their 12,000 acres.

That will be far short of the 18 million gallons the utility is looking for.

Right now the land is mostly in cattle, but it's clear that AKP will need every inch of land.

I wonder when they are planning to break the news to the cattle ranchers – that the cattle ranchers will need to leave?

2 thoughts on “Same Old Piggy With Lipstick & A Dress”

  1. Things are getting very complicated very quickly and I personally don’t have the spare time to follow every development. I think Tesoro shutting down so quickly is catching many people by surprise. It is a bigger problem for Oahu but I understand HELCO is in talks with Pacific Biodiesel to get fuel from them for the Puna and Hilo diesel-electric plants. I know many people think Pacific Biodiesel is great because they are selling diesel at the pump competitively priced with distilled product from the Tesoro and Chevron refineries. I wonder if they are selling it at a loss. My previous bosses were very big on “loss leaders” as a method to get more work and that turned into a huge disaster. If AKP still needs a refinery process after their base process, then that means it will have to be done at Chevron on Oahu and that can’t possibly be cost effective. Maybe AKP could do the refining at the Pacific Biodiesel plant but I don’t know. These processes are complex and it takes a lot more than a hobby chemist set up to accomplish.

    Personally, I think all this has to hit a crisis level before the state realizes what is going on. It is still a few years out but that is going to be a huge mess and it is the poor, old and sick that are going to suffer the most. The state really needs to form some kind of energy analysis group and start auditing these multiple approaches that are basically being forced upon the citizens. I just don’t see that as something that will happen with this current state administration.

  2. I have heard that also, such import it from the mainland already processed to the grades needed.

    This means it will have to be from the West Coast refineries to be cost effective and that rules it down to Southern California, since that is the largest concentration of refineries. So, we will be buying gas and diesel at Socal prices and dependent on their refineries, which with the down time of one easily increases Socal gas and diesel prices in $1 jumps.

    Even if $1 of that is California and fed taxes, there is still the cost of the oil tanker, which is getting feet per gallon(yes, feet per gallon). How many thousands of gallons to make the almost 3000 mile transit? Anybody that thinks we will be getting this fuel at less than Socal prices is dreaming.

    There is also the matter of the Jones, or more correctly Merchant Marine Act of 1920. With even Alaska more accesable by trucking on the mainland, unless something is very large and has to go through the Panama Canal, the Jones Act ends up mostly applying only to Hawaii, and from when it wasn’t even a state. The only reason Matson isn’t a shipping monopoly for Hawaii, is because Paha has entered the Hawaii shipping competition by complying with the Jones Act, so their first ship was made in an American shipyard, employed Americans, is flagged under an American flag and manned by an American crew. They are adding (building) two more ships now. Neither one are fuel tanker equipped except for LNG containers. Maybe there is something equivalent for diesel and gas.

    It will be interesting to see how these events pan out.

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