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Wood pellets under consideration by Hawaiian Electric

A Texas-based bioenergy company has reportedly started preliminary discussions with Hawaiian Electric (HECO) to supply compressed wood pellets to the utility.

Zilkha Biomass Energy manufactures pellets from harvested trees at a plant in Texas. The company estimates Hawaiian Electric could save 30% or more on its fuel costs by burning wood pellets instead of fuel oil to generate electricity.

Whilst a 'letter of intent' is reported to have been signed, both companies have stressed that discussions are in the early stages and extensive testing will be required before any contract is signed.

Zilkha's Black Pellets are a form of biomass, an attractive energy source for HECO because it counts toward the utility's renewable energy mandate. HECO has committed to using renewable sources to generate 40% of the electricity it sells by 2030.

The cost of generating electricity with Zilkha's Black Pellets may also be cheaper than burning liquefied natural gas, another option under consideration by HECO, according to the company.