County’s New Demands Cause Pacific Biodiesel Headaches

Pacific Biodiesel will continue collecting cooking oil and grease and continue supplying Biodiesel to Maui

Biodiesel refining operations to move to Big Island.

Here’s the press release issued by Pacific Biodiesel

America’s oldest biodiesel production plant has vacated the Central Maui  Landfill.  While continuing operations in the collection of used cooking oil and trap grease  waste, Pacific Biodiesel has closed its prototype facility.  Built in 1996, Pacific Biodiesel’s  Maui plant has been widely recognized as a pioneer in America’s biodiesel industry and was  the longest continually operating commercial biodiesel processing facility in the nation.  The  Maui operation has won awards from the Solid Waste Association of North American, the  National Recycling Coalition and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.


In December of 2013, Pacific Biodiesel was notified by the Maui County Department of  Environmental Management that continuing the current operation would require multiple  permits and extensive upgrades to comply with new County requirements.  According to  Robert King, President and Founder of the Company, “With just over two years left on our  contract, we couldn’t justify the costly site improvements that were required to meet the  County’s demands.”

Pacific Biodiesel will continue its full range of pumping and collection services on Maui and  Lanai as well as all its collection and processing operations on Oahu and Hawaii Island. Distribution of the Company’s biodiesel fuel will continue Statewide.

Prior to closing, the Puunene facility was providing pre-­?processing of waste oils for shipping  to its state-of-the-art biodiesel refinery in Hilo.  Now that the landfill facility has closed, the  cooking oil collected on Maui will be transferred directly to Big Island Biodiesel.  Grease trap  waste will continue to be processed on Oahu and Hawaii Island.

“Needless to say, it was difficult to shut down the plant after all these years but we found  ourselves with little recourse given the extent of the requirements to continue operations”,  said King. “We are committed to our community-­?based model and hope to return to Maui  with our industry-­?leading technology in the future.”


In the meantime, Pacific Biodiesel will continue to collect Maui County’s waste oils and  grease and distribute premium distilled biodiesel across the state.  To date, the Maui-­?based  company has diverted over 22 million gallons of waste from the community’s landfill,  greatly reduced the frequency of wastewater spills due to clogging by grease, and saved the  county’s restaurants a lot of money. Retired Pacific Biodiesel Operations Manager Larry Zolezzi estimates the savings to Maui  restaurants to be about $1 million, explaining, “The pumpers used to charge $1 per gallon to  pick up and dispose of used cooking oil (uco) and $2 per gallon for grease.  As the first  biodiesel company in the U.S., we changed the culture about what to do with uco and now  grease.”  Since 2010 Pacific Biodiesel Logistics has been collecting uco for free and offering  restaurants reduced rates for grease trap service.

2 thoughts on “County’s New Demands Cause Pacific Biodiesel Headaches”

  1. It is perplexing that the County would give a waste contract to Anaergia tying us to something like $8,000,000/year or more for the next 20 years while at the same time driving a local business to move to Big Island.

    Especially since that local business has been keeping tons of cooking oil and grease out of the landfill successfully for years.

    Is someone going to work for Anaergia when his stint in county government ends?

  2. Let me get this straight.

    The planning department gives Rock and Brews a pass on their SMA permit accepting their nonsensical statement that they demolished an entire building and built a whole new restaurant with new commercial kitchen and that was a REMODEL??? Costing less than $500,000????

    And the planning department gave Eclipse a building permit for the Pi’ilani Shopping Center even though it didn’t even FAINTLY resemble the approved project and was subsequently overturned when citizens went to the Land Use Committee?

    And they give a permit to the development above Flemmings Beach that is causing huge plumes of muddy water to smother the reef and make Flemmings dangerous to swim in.

    But they come after Pacific Biodiesel who has been operating on a county lease for years and want them to get after the fact building permits THAT NO OTHER COMPANY HAS TO GET for tanks???

    This stinks to high heaven.

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