Molecules March 24, 2020

HNEI Fuel Cell Researcher A Guest Co-Editor of Special Issue of "Molecules"

HNEI Researcher focusing on fuel cells, Jean St-Pierre, was recently a guest co-editor of a special issue of the journal Molecules.  This Special Issue, "Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs)" focuses on all PEMFC scientific and technological aspects that decrease cost and increase performance and durability.  HNEI's expertise on air impurities along with HNEI’s on-going collaborative research with the Naval Research laboratory on fuel cell stack materials for unmanned aerial vehicles were highlighted in the special issue in the two papers below.  The issue is currently being finalized with several other papers forthcoming.

JEECS March 13, 2020

HNEI Expertise in Battery Testing Recognized by Award Article

HNEI researchers, led by Assistant Researcher Matthieu Dubarry, was awarded a feature paper "Perspective on State-of-Health Determination in Lithium-Ion Batteries" by the editorial office of the Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage for their special biennial issue on emerging investigators in electrochemical energy conversion and storage.

Electronics Article January 14, 2020

HNEI Expertise in Battery Testing Recognized by Feature Article

HNEI Assistant Researcher Matthieu Dubarry was invited by the editorial office of journal Electronics to provide a feature perspective article on battery testing for their special issue on Advanced Battery Technologies: New Applications and Management Systems.  The article “Perspective on Commercial Li-ion Battery Testing, Best Practices for Simple and Effective Protocols” intends to fully describe, explain, and exemplify a simple step-by-step single apparatus methodology for commercial battery testing in order to facilitate and standardize validation studies.
SAFT Batteries December 19, 2019

HNEI Begins Collaboration with SAFT Batteries

Led by Assistant Researcher Matthieu Dubarry, HNEI began working with SAFT batteries towards the development of non-destructive tools for battery aging analysis in order to improve end of life prediction. This two year project will also evaluate the pertinence of HNEI patented battery management systems (BMS) state of health (SOH) estimator.

SOEST Open House October 28, 2019

HNEI Researchers Participate in 2019 SOEST Open House

HNEI is an organized research unit under UH Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). The School holds an Open House biennially that showcases activities and demonstrations highlighting research conducted by its various departments.

The 2019 SOEST Open House featured presentations of current research In HNEI's grid integration and battery technology research areas, led by Leon Roose and Matthieu Dubarry respectively.  Partnering with ENGIE, HNEI’s GridSTART group members, Kevin Davies and Saeed Sepasi produced an exhibit that featured hands-on activities to demonstrate integration of renewable energy, power generation, and energy efficiency.  George Baure, Jr. also presented how electrochemical power systems work using battery technology.


2019 OH1

2019 OH2


Wave Energy Device October 7, 2019

HNEI Receives 1.3M DOE Grant to Support Wave Energy Devices

Work has begun on the three year project, led by HNEI Specialist Patrick Cross, that will develop a wave-energy converter concept culminating in a set of tests in a sophisticated mainland wave tank.  The University of Hawaii was awarded $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in January to support the advancing of marine energy devices.  Cross has previously noted that “To date, wave-energy conversion is still in the category of very early stage R&D, and costs remain quite high. We feel we have an approach that can lead to lowering costs–through high-conversion efficiency and relatively low, up-front costs–as compared to technologies under development elsewhere.”

HiSERF Proton Electrolyzer September 23, 2019

HiSERF Proton Electrolyzer Exceeds Manufacturer Stack Lifetime Estimates by Over 60%

According to Keith Bethune, an Assistant Specialist at HNEI's Hawaii Sustainable Energy Research Facility (HiSERF) fuel cell laboratory, an on-site electrolyzer reached 12.3 years of production, exceeding the expected lifetime of the three original stacks by over 60%.  The Proton On-Site H-Series Electrolyzer installed in October 2006, achieved 107,100 hrs of production on the three original electrolyzer stacks. This far exceeded the manufacturer’s expected lifetime of 60,000 hrs for the 2005 stack design. The unit has a maximum production rate of  6Nm3/H (107.6 SLPM) and during operation approximately 3,400 kg of hydrogen were produced supporting fuel cell testing operations at the facility. The overall system, including the Proton electrolyzer, cooling water chiller, and deionized water supply unit had a 99% uptime over the life of the electrolyzer stacks. The majority of the shutdowns were due to peripheral equipment issues, routine maintenance, power outages, and a planned 6 month shutdown of the lab.   

The three electrolyzer stacks were replaced in one day and the unit was restarted in mid-August. The ease of stack replacement further contributes to the availability of the equipment and the stack longevity has been attributed to a strict adherence to maintenance scheduling for all components in the system, particularly the quality of the feedwater into the system.  

With proper maintenance and maintaining quality inputs into the system (feedwater), electrolyzers are a very reliable source of hydrogen and may even outlast the manufacturer specs.

PUC GHG Study August 30, 2019

HNEI to Analyze Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Energy Projects for PUC

In response to a request from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, HNEI is initiating a study to provide a quantitative assessment of GHG emissions for various energy products and production technologies used or expected to be used in Hawaii.  The outcomes from this study are intended to support the Commission's decision making.  HNEI will engage local and national experts on the topic and collaborate with local stakeholders on the the study's scope and results.  Further details regarding this collaboration can be found in the PUC letter.

Point of Contact: John Cole

ChemPhysChem Cover August 22, 2019

HNEI Research Featured on ChemPhysChem Cover

HNEI Assistant Researcher, Dr. Godwin Severa, is featured on the ChemPhysChem journal cover for his publication "Kinetic Enhancement of Direct Hydrogenation of MgB2 to Mg(BH4)2 upon Mechanical Milling with THF, MgH2, and/or Mg".  This research was funded by the Department of Energy and conducted in collaboration with Department of Chemistry and the HYMARC Consortium.  The paper was designated as a Very Important Paper and is included in the journal's October 2019 issue ( 

Hydrogen storage remains one of the great challenges limiting the widespread availability of hydrogen PEM fuel cell technology for automobile and unmanned vehicles.  The magnesium boride, MgB2 to magnesium borohydride, Mg(BH4)2 system is one of the few reversible materials with potential to meet all the fuel cell vehicle requirements but is limited by poor kinetics of hydrogen release at optimum conditions.

This study improved upon the hydrogenation conditions of MgB2 to Mg(BH4)2  through modification of the MgB2, by mechanical milling with additives, resulting in a 300 bar and 100°C reduction in hydrogenation conditions compared to previous state of art while still achieving ~54–71% conversion to the borohydride. The discovery of such a form of modified magnesium boride presents an important step towards development of a practical hydrogen storage system.

Additionally, this paper was featured on the ChemistryView website at

ACEP ARGEMS August 8, 2019

HNEI Demonstrates Low-Cost Grid Monitoring and Controls Platform

HNEI recently demonstrated its Advanced Real-time Grid Energy Monitor System (ARGEMS) for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, and Arizona State University.  The system has reached a level of development where it is now being shared with external organizations.  Previous deployments have been in one of the Project Frog buildings on the University of Hawaii campus and as a part of HNEI’s conservation voltage reduction project in Okinawa Japan. 

HNEI Assistant Researcher, Kevin Davies, presented and demonstrated ARGEMS to the Alaska Center for Energy and Power on July 17 (see ACEP announcement) and the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative on July 22. The main objective of these ongoing discussions is to explore how the system could be used to monitor the performance of electric grids in remote Alaskan villages.  In June, HNEI delivered its second unit to Arizona State University under the Distributed Electrical Architectures from Circuits to Systems project funded by the Office of Naval Research’s Defense University Research-to-Adoption program. HNEI and ASU have begun to use ARGEMS to demonstrate distributed voltage control using power electronic inverters such as those for rooftop photovoltaics.

More information can be found at the ARGEMS project page and Alaska Center for Energy and Power's press release.