Maui Business

Spanish Utility Invests in Maui’s Westec Technology

June 15, 2011, 9:14 AM HST
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Jeanne Skog, President/CEO, Maui Economic Development Board, Inc., has worked with WES over the years and knows the work that's gone into making this Maui-based R&D company the international success it is today. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Sonia Isotov

Iberdrola, a Spanish utility company, recently announced that it will invest in the carbon capture technology developed by Westec Environmental Solutions, LLC, a research and development company headquartered in Kahului.

“Our technology represents a potential breakthrough for reducing smokestack emissions and capturing CO2 before it is released into the atmosphere,” says Jeff Reiss, Vice-President of Westec Environmental Solutions (WES), LLC, in a written statement released by long-time supporter Maui Economic Development Board, Inc.

“The growth of WES from its origins here on Maui over a decade ago is an inspiring success story that serves as a shining example for other small tech companies,” added Maui Economic Development Board Inc. (MEDB) President/CEO Jeanne Unemori Skog. “Working with WES over the years, it is particularly satisfying to see their perseverance pay off.”

WES and Iberdrola announced their partnership for carbon capture technology in early June. Iberdrola is the 5th largest utility in the world and the largest renewable energy company, with operations in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. The partnership follows WES’s success as winner in October 2010 of Iberdrola’s inaugural Perseo Awards in the CO2 Capture and Clean Combustion category.

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 “We are delighted to have Iberdrola as a partner,” said Frank Huebner, CEO of WES. “This is a recognition that the WES Absorbertm stands to revolutionize absorption across a wide range of industries. The investment will fast track our commercialization program through funding of our first pilot projects in carbon capture. The first of these is now scheduled to be built in early 2012,” added Huebner.

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Iberdrola recognized the importance of the WES Absorbertm technology for its ability to capture CO2 from combustion flue gas in electric power generation, and thus fight the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The WES Absorbertm will offer a reportedly significant capital cost reductions over conventional CO2 capture systems by reducing the size of the absorbers by up to 50%. The WES Absorbertm is also said to consume significantly less energy than existing technologies.

WES Research and Development’s intellectual property and research operations grew out of Peletex, which was established on Maui in 2000. Its history of particle and gas capture began with a foam filtration system for removing dry wall dust, developed by inventor and Chief Technical Officer, Roy Pellegrin.

With funding assistance from High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) from 2005-2007, Peletex developed the technology into a cutting-edge indoor air quality filter. Peletex partnered with WES in 2009 to take the next step in marketing and management to an international level. WES plans to use Iberdrola’s investment to develop the technology for global market applications.

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