Simonpietri Enterprises Awarded Federal Grant for Fertilizer Made from Fire-Prone Invasive Plants
HONOLULU, Jan. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Simonpietri Enterprises LLC a $206,500 grant to conduct research on producing organic fertilizer from locally-sourced green waste and wildfire-prone invasive plant biomass. This grant provides crucial funding to demonstrate the viability of Simonpietri’s idea to manufacture fertilizer in Hawaii from invasive and fast-growing plants like guinea grass and koa haole.
“We are thrilled to win this competitive award from the Department of Energy to test out our idea to solve multiple problems at once: support the invasive species removal part of landscape restoration, make organic fertilizer and renewable energy that displaces imported fossil fuel inputs, and provide quality products to local farms and nurseries,” said Joelle Simonpietri, owner of Simonpietri Enterprises.
For the project, Simonpietri Enterprises has partnered with the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture (CTAHR), native Hawaiian plant nursery and landscape restoration organization Hui Ku Maoli Ola, and the Energy and Environmental Research Center of North Dakota (EERC). The Phase I research accomplished so far has taken invasive guinea grass from a wildfire prevention project done on O’ahu by Hui Ku Maoli Ola, and converted it to biochar and syngas for energy and fertilizer production at the U.S. DOE’s National Center for
Hydrogen Technology™ gasification pilot laboratory at the North Dakota EERC. The nutrient products will next be tested in crop trials at CTAHR’s Waimanalo and Pearl City research stations as a soil amendment and slow-release fertilizer ingredient.
The DOE grant is supporting physical testing for the Aloha Sustainable Materials Recycling and Fertilizer Facility (SMRFF) facility that Simonpietri Enterprises is developing in Kapolei to divert construction and demolition debris and other organic wastes from landfilling and burning, and instead use that material to make renewable energy, organic fertilizer, recycled-material building products, and other circular economy products.
“We are super excited to participate in this project. We all need a way to bring more resources to landscape restoration and fire prevention in Hawai’i” added Hui Ku Maoli co-owner Matt Kapaliku Schirman. Hui Ku is also going to be hosting a test of Simonpietri’s organic fertilizer product for its seedlings at its native Hawaiian plant nursery in Waimanalo.
“Our SMRFF project is small but would be an important first step in Hawaii to build capability to convert wood and green wastes into renewable power, biochar, and value-added products like organic fertilizer,” said Naomi Kukac, Communications and Community Engagement lead at Simonpietri Enterprises. “We are moving closer to breaking ground on this innovative local circular economy solution.”
This competitive DOE low-greenhouse gas fertilizer research award demonstrates the strength and timeliness of Simonpietri Enterprises’ vision for sustainable agriculture and clean energy in Hawaii. Simonpietri Enterprises is committed to leading the transition to a regenerative local economy that benefits all of Hawaii’s communities.
About Simonpietri Enterprises LLC:
Simonpietri Enterprises LLC develops innovative project solutions to re-use and recycle waste into sustainable products that reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for the agriculture, energy, and transportation sectors. Our mission is to implement sustainable systems that benefit Hawaii’s economy, communities, and ecosystems. For more information, visit www.simonpietri.com.
This work was made possible by an assistance award from the U.S. Department of Energy under its Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR-STTR) Program award # DE-SC0024009. Neither the United States Government, nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process developed with this assistance, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.
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SOURCE Simonpietri Enterprises
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