HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii biofuel company will receive more than $5.5 million from the federal government to produce affordable animal feed from marine algae, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will help Cellana LLC, owned by HR BioPetroleum, produce feedstock for biofuels, aquaculture and other animal feeds. The grant will be combined with $1.6 million Cellana has raised for the project.

"By developing a cheaper form of animal feed from marine algae, we allow our livestock and dairy industry to remain competitive by reducing the amount of revenue they direct to feeding their animals," Inouye, D-Hawaii, said. "I would like to laud Cellana's efforts to move Hawaii away from the use of imported fossil fuels while developing innovative new products from one of our most readily available resources."

The Big Island company's six-acre facility in Kona is home to one of the most advanced operational demonstration facilities among algae-to-biofuel organizations and companies in the nation.

According to the company, algae's benefits include the ability to produce 15 times more vegetable oil per hectare than other feedstock. Algae grows quickly and can be cultivated in seawater, minimizing the use of fertile land and fresh water.

The project began at the start of the month and runs through April 2014.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.