The Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) was established to undertake and coordinate research and development of the island’s renewable energy resources. HNEI has an exceptional record of achievement, including spearheading the discovery and use of geothermal power in Hawai‘i, developing the technology to use biomass for energy, charcoal (photo at left) and high-value chemicals, and establishing the most comprehensive hydrogen program of any university in the nation.
In keeping with its mandate to develop alternatives to imported fossil fuels, HNEI has established a major fuel cell research and development program. This effort builds on HNEI’s highly successful research on hydrogen production from renewable resources and bolsters the State of Hawai‘i’s goals of reducing its heavy dependence on imported fossil fuels for electricity and transportation. Major research activities are conducted at the Hawai‘i Fuel Cell Test Facility, a state-of-the-art research facility to characterize fuel cell performance and reliability.
HNEI is also exploring technologies to harness wave and ocean thermal energy. Ocean thermal energy conversion, or OTEC, generates energy by harnessing the flow of heat from a reservoir of warm surface ocean water to a reservoir of cold water pumped from the deep ocean. HNEI studies show Hawai‘i’s leeward waters provide ideal conditions for OTEC energy production.
For more information, visit http://www.hnei.hawaii.edu