HNEI research labs are augmented by field testing and demonstration sites to support core R&D along with renewable energy system integration. Because Technical Validation & Implementation has become an essential part of HNEI’s mission, faculty and staff work closely with partners to bring research results and efficient end use technologies through the stages of development, demonstration and deployment into service.
Research facilities include:
The Biochemical Engineering Laboratory specializes in research involving low-energy low-chemical high rate wastewater treatments systems with applications in biogas production and water reuse.
A wide variety of research is underway in the Biomass and Fuels Processing Laboratory, including activities in biomass resource assessment, thermochemical conversion of biomass, evaluation of energy conversion and utilization processes, and reforming of transition fuels for the hydrogen economy.
Research facilities are dedicated to anaerobic and aerobic bioprocessing, with fermentation reactors and an anaerobic digester.
The R3 Lab is a test-bed for the development of innovative technologies and processes for the conversion of biomass into fuels, high-value chemicals, and other products.
Methane Hydrates Research Laboratory (MHRL)
The MHRL is part of the Ocean Resources and Applications Laboratory, with a long-term goal to develop environmentally benign technologies to utilize the enormous energy potential of methane hydrate deposits.
HNEI conducts field trials and on-site technical validation and implementation specific to the needs of each project. See Grid Integration projects for more information.
Fuel Cells and Batteries
Formally known as the Hawaii Fuel Cell Test Facility, HiSERF’s mission is to accelerate acceptance and deployment of fuel cells for commercial and military applications, battery energy storage and other grid enabling technologies.
The EPSL conducts battery and other electrochemical power systems R&D and evaluations.
Renewable Power Generation
HNEI conducts on-site technical validation and demonstration projects across Hawaii. See Renewable Power Generation section more information.
Solar Fuels research involving photoelectrochemical (PEC) production of hydrogen from water, using sunlight is carried out in the Thin Films Lab. This involves state-of-the-art solar energy technology facilities for photovoltaic systems and photo-catalytic materials research, including photoelectrochemical devices.
Energy Efficiency projects encompass technology and building system design, monitoring and testing. (See Energy Efficiency projects for more information.)
Other locations where HNEI conducts or supports research include:
NELHA is a state-owned agency that operates a unique and innovative ocean science and technology park in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii. NELHA is strategically located adjacent to one of the steepest bathymetric offshore slopes in the Hawaiian Islands. Assets include a dual-temperature seawater system that is the only one of its kind in the world.
Makai research pier is home to three of the partner organizations co-located at the laboratory, the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), Sea Engineering, Inc. and Makai Ocean Engineering. HURL is a research unit in SOEST, and HURL's facilities include two deep-diving submersibles, a remotely operated vehicle, and a support ship.
A U.S. Marine Corps facility, MCBH, currently houses HNEI-supported projects involving hydrogen fueling stations and wave energy testing. HNEI supports research involving the technical analysis of the fueling station designed to support fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and the environmental feasibility of the technology deployed at Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) located on the base.