HNEI’s research labs are augmented by field testing and demonstration sites to support core research, development, testing, and evaluation goals, along with renewable energy system integration. Since 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.
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.
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.
The Ocean Resources and Applications Lab has a long-term goal to develop environmentally benign technologies to utilize the enormous energy potential of methane hydrate deposits.
Grid Integration & Renewable Power Generation
The GridSTART Laboratory was designed to conduct research, development, testing, and evaluation in support of power systems modernization and renewable energy integration.
Electrochemical Power Systems
Formally known as the Hawai‘i Sustainable Energy Research Facility, the Fuel Cell Systems Laboratory’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 PakaLi Battery Lab conducts R&D on battery and other electrochemical power systems. PBL work ranges from battery prototyping, to the testing of large battery modules and the modeling of deployed battery systems.
The Contaminant Mitigation laboratory focuses on synthesis and characterization of novel materials for both air and water purification. The materials are designed to increase capability of renewable energy and increase efficiency leading to energy savings.
The Hydrogen Storage and Purification Materials Laboratory conducts various novel materials research to overcome the hydrogen storage, hydrogen carriers, forward osmosis draw solutes, and acid gas sorption materials development challenges.
The Thin Films Laboratory at HNEI develops novel coating strategies for renewable energy conversion, including photovoltaics, photocatalysis, In-Mold Electronics, 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.
Other locations where HNEI conducts or supports research:
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.
NELHA is a state-owned agency that operates a unique and innovative ocean science and technology park in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawai‘i. 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.