HNEI conducts research, testing, and evaluation in the areas of alternative fuels, grid integration, fuel cells and battery technology, renewable power generation, and energy efficiency and transportation.
Click on any of the topics below for more information on the programs and links to specific projects:
Alternative fuels, for both transportation and power generation, are an important component of Hawaii’s efforts to reduce its dependence on imported petroleum. HNEI conducts research, testing and evaluation, supporting the development of alternative fuels including biomass and biofuels, hydrogen and solar fuels, and methane hydrates. HNEI also conducts analysis and planning to assess the potential for alternative fuels, including the use of LNG to meet Hawaii energy needs.
The high cost of electricity in Hawaii, resulting from the geographic isolations of the islands' electricity grids and widespread use of petroleum to generate electricity; and very favorable tax benefits has led to the rapid growth of renewable generation on all the islands. This isolation and the very high penetration of wind and especially distributed solar systems make Hawai'i's electricity grids particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of these intermittent renewable energy sources, but also an ideal test bed for solutions. HNEI is conducting an integrated program including grid system analysis; and technology development and demonstration to advance solutions for Hawaii and for the nation.
HNEI conducts research, development and testing of fuel cell and battery technologies ranging from single cells to full systems. The primary purpose of these efforts is to further the understanding of their performance and durability for a wide range of application including commercial vehicles, unmanned aerial and undersea vehicles, and in the case of batteries, to provide ancillary services for the electrical grids.
In the area of renewable power generation, HNEI has active programs in photovoltaics (PV) and ocean energy and is conducting limited testing of small scale wind turbines.
Hawaii has aggressive goals for reduction of fossil fuel usage through energy efficiency. HNEI’s primary activities in this area include research on high efficiency buildings and building energy management; and support of Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) to replace conventional AC systems. 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.