Your Views for September 13

‘Nefarious project’

Thanks, professor William Mautz, for clarifying how the carbon cycle applies to the biomass project in Pepeekeo (Your Views, Tribune-Herald, Sept. 4) since I was accused, along with Henry Curtis, in a recent letter by an employee of the biomass operation of not understanding the “carbon cycle.”

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The eucalyptus-burning project has claimed falsely for years that the project would be “carbon neutral.” I am flattered to be mentioned along with Henry Curtis, since I have had only a minor role in the struggle of the Hamakua neighbors against this nefarious project, but perhaps my letters over the past 15 years are getting under their skin.

I want to point out yet another aspect of the variously named Hu Honua/Honua Ola project which I find particularly galling and which is rarely mentioned: It is the fact that this method of producing electricity is incredibly wasteful of the starting material, because even under the best operating conditions, it is only 30% efficient, and that is because the conversion of heat energy liberated by burning is so inefficient when converted to mechanical energy to turn the turbine in the plant. This has to do with the principles of thermodynamics, and if thermodynamics is not your thing, ask any reputable power plant engineer.

So, a huge amount of heat is wasted and is not used for any other purpose in this case and has to be quenched by pumping huge amounts of water from the ground 24/7. The now-polluted water is placed in a cooling pond and then needs to be disposed of, which used to be accomplished by discharging it directly into the ocean from the plant that is just a few feet from the cliff.

Since this method is no longer acceptable (but has already been used once illegally) it is now proposed to inject back into the ground by way of deep-injection wells. This method presents the clear potential of pollutants leaching into the near-shore ocean waters through the porous volcanic rock of the Hamakua Coast. What a mess this would be!

There is no amount of lipstick and makeup that can disguise this project.

Adrienne S. Dey

Hilo

COVID concerns

Thank you, Jerald Satake, for your letter of concern about Mayor Harry Kim’s inadequate position on containing the spread of COVID-19 on Hawaii Island (Your Views, Sept. 10).

I am also concerned that testing and public information to aid in preventing the spread is not wholly adequate.

A Hilo woman had concerning symptoms which she managed with a natural COVID-19 health protocol, then contacted her doctor when she was symptom-free and was told to get tested, which she did and is awaiting her results.

My concern is that she took the nasal swab test after she was feeling better, and if her test results are negative, that doesn’t reveal if she really had the virus.

Testing should also include an antibody test in order to reveal if the person did indeed have the virus, thereby adding to the community spread data. During her active illness, how many others did she contact in person, possibly spreading the disease?

There is a Hawaii website that is working on giving meaningful and helpful information on community spread so residents are aware of what is going on in their communities and can take preventative action: covidpau.org.

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Merle Hayward

Hilo

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