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University of Hawaii receives $6 million biofuel grant

June 4, 2012, Washington, DC - The University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources will receive $6 million to continue efforts to convert grass and other biomass into sustainable, commercial biofuel.


June 4, 2012
By The Office of Sen. Daniel Inouye

June 4, 2012, Washington, DC – The
University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human
Resources (CTAHR) will receive $6 million to continue efforts to convert
grass and other biomass into sustainable, commercial biofuel, Senator
Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K.
Hirono and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa announced today.

The money comes from a grant administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

CTAHR will use the funds to help pay
for the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a project designed
to convert napiergrass, sugarcane, energycane, sweet sorgum and other
plant products into sustainable, economically viable biofuel.

“Continuing to invest in a sustainable
energy future is vital to the health of our environment and our
economy.  At this time, fuel used for air, sea, and land transportation
accounts for more than 60 per cent of the oil imported into Hawaii. 
These funds will help convert various species of grass and plants into
clean fuel,” said Senator Inouye. “Hawaii is at the forefront of clean
energy research and development and the projects and initiatives
underway in our islands are helping to lessen our dependence on imported
oil and moving us toward a time when the majority of our power is
generated from clean, sustainable sources.”

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"Biofuels offer much promise for our
economy and environment since they can be locally produced and have the
potential to significantly reduce pollution.  The University of Hawaii
is a leader in renewable energy technologies, including
biomass-to-biofuels research, and I look forward to continued
advancements being made at CTAHR,” said Senator Akaka.

"Part of our challenge when it comes to
making our state energy independent is determining how Hawaii’s unique
climate and year-round growing season affect things like crop yields for
biomass. Research conducted on the mainland doesn’t take those factors
into account. That’s why investments like this help us learn the types
of yields we can expect or the requirements we’d need to plan for when
growing various biomass crops. That information is essential for
companies and potential investors interested in developing alternative
energy projects,” said Congresswoman Hirono, who has long supported this
program and recently released an energy sustainability plan.
“I congratulate the University of Hawaii for winning this important
investment that will help Hawaii create more of our own energy."

“Hawaii is the ideal laboratory for
developing biofuel because our climate allows a diverse array of plant
species to grow in the quantities necessary to test and convert to
energy” said Congresswoman Hanabusa, member of the House Committee on
Natural Resources. “Investing in and promoting renewable energy
initiatives helps lessen our dependence on imported fossil fuels,
protects our environment and creates jobs. I would like to thank the
administration for their continued support of Hawaii’s renewable energy
industries.” 

For more information, please visit: www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/bioenergy/Reports.aspx


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