RFP: Marketing Feasibility Study for a Basalt Fiber Manufacturing Facility in Hawaii County

PISCES is a Hawaiʻi state-funded aerospace center within the State of Hawaiʻi’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). The Hilo-based agency is working to position the State of Hawaiʻi as a leader in space exploration while developing sustainable products and technologies that benefit the Islands.

Through work in the areas of applied research, workforce development, and long-term business and economic development, PISCES is developing new space-related technologies that provide technical training for Hawaiʻi’s workforce while exploring new economic opportunities for the state. To this end, PISCES is seeking a qualified organization to prepare a comprehensive feasibility study that will determine whether a basalt fiber manufacturing facility in the County of Hawaiʻi will benefit the local economy.

Future space travel to the Moon and Mars will require that humans manufacture items using materials available in-situ. Hawaiʻi Island’s volcanic basalt is highly similar in chemical composition to the basalt found on the Moon and Mars. Developing a successful basalt manufacturing operation in Hawaiʻi to make durable, high-quality construction materials and tools may benefit both the collective effort of human space exploration and the State of Hawaiʻi.

Basalt is a type of igneous rock formed by the rapid cooling of lava found at the surface of terrestrial planets. In the order of most abundant to least abundant, basalt is made up of the minerals: plagioclase, olivine and pyroxene. Samples collected and analyzed from various quarries on Hawaiʻi Island have been shown to possess the necessary chemical composition needed for fiber manufacturing.

Industrial applications for basalt fibers and basalt-derived products are based on a range of desirable properties including durability, fire retardance and high compressive strength. Basalt fibers are considered superior to alternatives like E-glass and S-glass in corrosion and abrasion resistance, thermal stability, heat insulation, vibration and chemical resistance. Basalt fibers can replace nearly all applications using asbestos. It can also be used to make structural mesh, fabric, insulating material, hydroponic growth media and basalt rebar.

The selected Contractor will perform a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a financially viable basalt fiber manufacturing facility in Hawaiʻi County and a final report discussing its findings.

Links to Documents:

Important Dates:

  • Completed proposals must be received no later than 12:00 p.m. (HST) on Jan. 22, 2018
  • Services start date: March 1, 2018 (Tentative)
  • Services completion date: Aug. 31, 2018 (Tentative)