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:

Alternative Fuels

Biochemical Engineering Laboratory

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.

Biomass and Fuels Processing Laboratory

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.

Bioprocessing Laboratory

The research facilities in Bioprocessing lab are dedicated to feedstock preparation, microbial fermentation, and products recovery. The lab is equipped with various instruments for chemical and physical analysis.

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.


Grid Integration

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 Cell and Battery Technology

Hawaii Sustainable Energy Research Facility (HiSERF)

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.

Electrochemical Power Systems Laboratory (EPSL)

The EPSL conducts R&D on battery and other electrochemical power systems. EPSL work ranges from battery prototyping, to the testing of large battery modules and the modeling of deployed battery systems.


Renewable Power Generation

HNEI conducts on-site technical validation and demonstration projects across Hawaii. See Renewable Power Generation section more information.

Thin Films Laboratory

The Thin Films Laboratory at HNEI develops novel coating strategies for renewable energy conversion, including photovoltaics and Solar Fuels applications. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art deposition vacuum chambers and instrumentation to integrate and test various classes of materials, including semiconducting, catalytic and corrosion resistant layers. The team also collaborates with local and national institutions to predict and characterize the behavior of thin films and nano-structures at the atomistic level.


Energy Efficiency

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:

Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH)

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.


The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA)

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.  Assets include a dual-temperature seawater system that is the only one of its kind in the world, and a hydrogen production and dispensing station that supports operations of fuel cell electric buses used in public transportation.