Key conditions for sustainable Biodiesel:

  1. Use waste and byproducts or locally grown feedstock that doesn’t displace rain forests
  2. Decentralize – small plants using local feedstock and selling locally

Two of the biggest Biodeisel plants in the United States are proposed for Maui and ‘Oahu.

Proposed BlueEarth Biodiesel Plant (To supply MECO & HECO with 120 million gallons of generator fuel per year) has been abandoned.

Proposed Imperium Renewables Inc. Plant (100 million gallons per year) Replaces imported fossil fuel with imported palm oil.


  • Biodiesel burns 60% cleaner than regular diesel
  • Fossil Fuel supplies are dwindling


Clearcutting Amazon Rainforest
Clearcutting in South America

Initial areas of concern:

In our good intentions, we may be increasing global warming and paying higher electric rates

  1. Imported biodiesel that encourages rain forest destruction is net contributor to CO2
  2. Although its contracts are with suppliers who guarantee the palm oil plantations have not destroyed rainforest or wetlands, it still increases palm oil demand so other buyers will obtain their supply from non-ecological sources. Sustainable Palm Oil may only be a marketing ploy. See the Oil Palm page.
  3. To supply oil for 120 million gallon Maui plant will require 206,000 acres of Oil Palms, 650,000 of jatropha or 530,000 acres of Kukui. Only 140,000 acres of biofuel land has been identified in all of Hawai’i. 37,000 acres is in sugar cane. This means most or all of the feedstock will be imported – not grown on Maui
  4. Jatropha seeds and leaves are poisonous to people, animals and birds. It is an undesirable invasive specie for Maui. See the How A Biofuel Dream Called Jatropha Came Crashing Down and the jatropha page for more info.for more info.
  5. If foreign palm oil stays lower priced than locally grown feedstocks, then no local feedstock will be used unless price supports or tariffs are imposed.
  6. 24,000,000 gallons of glycerin waste product will be produced each year by the Maui plant. Unless a plant is built that burns glycerin or it is used to create methanol for the biofuel system, this will be dumped in our landfill.
Burning Madegascar Forest
Burning Madegascar Forest

Info on the Blue Earth Project

  • Managing Partners: Landis Maez and Robert Wellington
  • SSOE Inc and SSOE Systems Inc. based on the mainland will design and build the plant
  • The plant will import canola, soy or palm oil from North America, South America and the Pacific Rim.
  • The first phase of the plant will cost $61 million
  • MECO and the other Hawaii electric companies incur big fines when they start and stop their generators due to excessive air pollution. MECO currently burns biodiesel from Pacific Biodiesel during these times and thus any increase in expense is more than offset by avoiding these huge fines.