Federal Stimulus Still Not Stimulating Many Jobs at Local Biorefinery Plant

Honeywell UOP

The federal government has poured millions of taxpayer dollars into the struggling biofuels industry, doling out grants and loans to projects around the country — including Hawaii — as part of the federal 2009 stimulus package.

The goal: to reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil and spur economic growth.

One of the companies to receive the funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is Honeywell UOP, a $38-billion-dollar venture that licenses technology to oil and gas companies.

The company got a $25 million grant in 2010 to help it build a biofuels demonstration plant at Campbell Industrial Park on Oahu. James Rekoske, vice president of renewable energy for UOP, tells Civil Beat the biofuels project would not have moved forward without the money.

But whether Honeywell’s project — or 18 others throughout the country that in total received as much as $564 million in stimulus funds — can create the jobs they promised is still unclear.

The U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees the grants, declined Civil Beat’s request to review Honeywell’s application, saying that it was private.

DOE says that Honeywell anticipated a peak of 85 construction jobs and an average of 40 permanent jobs per year during the duration of the project.

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