Energy efficiency is the foundation for achieving Hawaii’s aggressive renewable energy and carbon emission goals. HNEI’s activities in this area have included research on high efficiency, net zero energy buildings, building energy management, and technologies that one day will replace conventional mechanical systems such as desiccant dehumidification. HNEI also conducts research to support the development and deployment of advanced transportation systems with efforts currently focused on the acceptance and integration of electric vehicles.
Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Among HNEI’s energy efficiency objectives is to support the development and deployment of energy efficient buildings through research, testing and validation of energy related technologies, education and training, and project collaboration with private and public sector partners. Three energy neutral classrooms were built and monitored for several years on Oahu and Kauai. The performance of these buildings helps us understand optimum operation of mixed mode bridlings. More recently, two net zero energy, mixed mode buildings were built on the UH Manoa campus and currently serve as research platforms for multiple developing technologies.
Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC)
SWAC has significant potential to decrease the State of Hawaii’s use of imported oil, potable water, and chemical refrigerants to operate conventional air conditioning systems. It also has wide-ranging applications for commercial and defense applications throughout the Pacific Region and elsewhere in the world. HNEI conducts analysis and design of performance enhancement technologies to reduce cost, along with modeling efforts to improve understanding of impacts on the marine ecosystem.
HNEI’s Transportation program is focused primarily on the impact of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Hawaii. Complementing HNEI’s strong core research and technology validation efforts in Alternate Fuels, Fuel Cells & Batteries, and Grid Systems, efforts span EV battery performance and integration into grid power systems, hydrogen production and infrastructure demonstration to support fuel cell hybrid vehicles, and development of alternative fuels primarily for ground transportation. Our objective is to contribute to a sustainable transportation system by analyzing, modeling, and demonstrating replacement fuels, infrastructure and critical technologies.
Electric Vehicles (EVs)
HNEI’s conducts analysis and supports modeling of Electric Vehicle (EV) battery performance, economic impacts, and power grid integration. For more on grid impacts, see Grid Integration.
Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Vehicles
Hydrogen infrastructure efforts include evaluation of electrolysis to produce hydrogen, demonstration of fueling infrastructure, and studies on the impact of harsh environments on fuel cell operation and the durability of hydrogen equipment exposed to a salt air environment. For more information, see Hydrogen Infrastructure.
Alternate Transportation Fuels
HNEI’s research into alternative fuels for transportation spans a range of liquid biofuels produced from biomass, along with novel techniques to produce hydrogen. For more information, please see Alternate Fuels: Biomass & Biofuels, and Hydrogen.