Federal helping Big Island energy company

An energy company on the Big Island will receive a $5 million loan guarantee from the federal government to help finish construction of a manufacturing plant in Kawaihae.The announcement was made Thursday in a Washington news release by Hawaii’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka.

Big Island Carbon’s $25 million plant will convert discarded macadamia nut shells into a product that can generate power, filter air and purify water.

Plans call for the company to buy about 10,000 tons of more than 20,000 tons of shells produced annually on the Big Island to convert into 1,000 tons of granular activated carbon.

Big Island Carbon will power its own operations. Any excess biofuel or gas will be sold on the island.