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Creating renewable gasoline

The schematic diagram of reaction and distillation apparatus, and the appearance of polyhydroxybutyrate, light-oil and heavy-oil.

Creating gasoline and biodiesel from readily available microbial organisms may sound too good to be true, but that is exactly what researchers at the Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa are doing. A new one-pot process is described in a recent publication by Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Shimin Kang and Researcher Jian Yu. “As we ...

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Researcher’s work in bioplastics leads to $1.4 million contract

Jian Yu

Jian Yu, a Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has signed an exclusive global research contract with Bio-On, an Italian intellectual property company, representing a $1.4 million investment. Yu’s research focuses on new technologies to produce bioplastics from inexpensive feedstocks such as wood chips, agricultural residues and domestic wastes. The bioplastics can be molded ...

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UH extramural funding totals $425 million for FY 2015


The University of Hawaiʻi received a total of $425 million in sponsored funds to close fiscal year 2015 (FY2015). The total reflects an increase of 8.5 percent over the previous year’s tally of $392 million and marks the first increase in extramural award funding after three straight years of decline. “With the effects of sequestration, budget cuts and the realignment ...

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First net zero energy buildings under construction at UH Mānoa

An artisṯs rendition of an example net zero energy classroom. Image credit: Project Frog

On June 15, 2015 contractors broke ground for the installation of two 1,500 square foot, net zero energy classrooms. These classrooms will be energy neutral, that is they will generate at least as much energy as they will use. “This multiyear effort characterizes the effect of usage and building design on energy demand. This is part of a larger research ...

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New study models path for achieving Hawaiʻi’s renewable energy targets

Solar energy, including photovoltaics, will contribute to Hawaiʻi’s goals for renewable. Photo credit: John Cole, HNEI.

Many wonder whether the state can reach the lofty goals set out by new laws requiring the University of Hawaiʻi to become net-zero by 2035 and for Hawaiʻi to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045. A new report from the Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa identifies various scenarios that would allow the ...

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[VIDEO] Fast-Fill hydrogen fueling station enabling zero emission transportation

Hydrogen filling station

The Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) has commissioned a “Fast-Fill” high-pressure hydrogen fueling station at the Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i (MCBH), Kaneohe Bay. This state-of-the-art station was developed to support a fleet of General Motors Equinox Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) leased by the Office of Naval Research for use by Marine Corps and Navy personnel on O‘ahu. Operational since ...

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ARL/UH and HNEI to study electrical grids at three naval bases in Hawaii

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

The Office of Naval Research has contracted with the Applied Research Laboratory at the University of Hawai‘i (ARL/UH) for a $2.5 million energy research project to be conducted by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute’s (HNEI) GridSTART (Grid System Technologies Advanced Research Team), an HNEI research team focused on the integration and analysis of energy technologies and power systems, including smart ...

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Navy expands investment at first grid-connected wave energy test site in the U.S.

Wave energy testing device

Work at the Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) located off Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kāneʻohe has received an infusion of $9 million from the U.S. Navy.  The funds, from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), are directed to the Applied Research Laboratory at the University of Hawai‘i (ARL/UH), working with UH Mānoa’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), to support ...

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Partnership demonstrates fuel cells for helium recovery at NASA

Rocket engine testing

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), together with Sierra Lobo Inc., has demonstrated the recovery of high-purity helium from hydrogen/helium mixtures produced at rocket engine testing sites using proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses a large amount of helium gas — about a million cubic feet per launch to purge ...

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[VIDEO] Asia-Pacific Technology and Education Program

Three fuel cell cars

The Asia-Pacific Technology and Education Program (APTEP), centered in Hawaii with partnerships in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Laos, Vietnam and Japan, supports the development of alternative energy technologies. With support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), it takes a three-pronged approach, supporting cutting-edge energy research; educating students and teachers in energy-related fields; and supporting businesses trying to bring alternative ...

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