Biomass is the oldest and most versatile renewable fuel. It has added benefits, particularly for Hawaii, because farm-grown energy crops can create new agri-businesses, reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, serve as alternatives to more expensive renewable energy resources, and be cleaner because of new burning and cleaning techniques.
HNEI's previous work included assessing the potential of various crops, evaluating various biomass-to-energy technologies, identifying high-value co-products, and developing technologies to produce solid, liquid and gaseous fuels and chemicals from biomass.
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. In addition, HNEI researchers led the preparation of the Hawaii Bioenergy Master Plan.
Other biomass research efforts are being carried out as shown in the Renewable Resources Research Activities section of our website. Such activities include the development of processes for the production of hydrogen and ethanol from biomass. The pursuit of biocarbons (charcoal) is also an important research focus. Most of the work being done is conducted in the Renewable Resources Research Laboratory (R3Lab).