The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) has a long history of research and development in ocean energy and resources technology, primarily in wave energy and in Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC).
HNEI supports wave energy conversion (WEC) technology assessments at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) located off Marine Corps Base Hawaii. This is the first grid-connected wave energy test site in the US. It consists of three test berths, at depths of 30, 60, and 80m, capable of testing WEC devices up to 1MW peak power production. Direct operations and maintenance support will be provided to tenant companies, competitively selected by US DOE and NAVFAC. HNEI conducts power performance and durability analysis of devices, as well as environmental monitoring (including acoustic, EMF, ecological, and sediment transport). Additionally HNEI supports University of Hawaii and other projects in device and array modeling, wave measurement and wave forecasting.
HNEI conducts OTEC thermal gradient resource assessments, outflow plume modeling, and power plant demonstration studies of OTEC power plants for both US Navy and commercial applications. HNEI is supporting Makai Ocean Engineering in developing cost-effective heat exchanger designs and long-term corrosion testing of the aluminum materials at an OTEC demonstration facility, located at the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority, on Hawaii Island. A planned 100 kW turbine generator will convert the facility into the first grid-connected, closed-cycle OTEC experimental plant in the United States.