The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) develops renewable energy resources across a broad range enabling technologies at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) was established in 1974 to coordinate and undertake the development of natural energy sources for Hawaii. In 2005, HNEI faculty developed a strategic plan which called for HNEI to be the UH and State focal point for multidisciplinary research and education on the energy supply for Hawaii.
The significance of HNEI’s contributions to the State was recognized by the Hawaii State Legislature which, in 2007, established HNEI in statute (ACT 253) and expanded its mandate to explicitly include coordination with state and federal agencies; and the demonstration and deployment of efficient end use technologies including those that address peak electric demand issues.
Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
1680 East West Road, POST 109
Honolulu, HI 96822
(Photo courtesy of Sara Cerri)
HNEI conducts research in several focus areas:
Renewable Power Generation
- Photovoltaics – HNEI is conducting high-fidelity resource assessments and testing commercial and emerging solar technologies. The objectives are to characterize real-world performance of (Photovoltaic) PV technologies and systems in differing environments;
- Ocean Energy – HNEI facilitates the development and deployment of wave energy and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technologies.
HNEI supports the Navy’s development of the nation’s first grid connected wave energy test site (WETS) at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, on Kaneohe Bay, to conduct independent analysis for wave energy conversion device systems performance, and associated environmental monitoring;
- Wind Energy – HNEI is addressing issues associated with high penetration of intermittent wind on the electrical grid. HNEI has deployed five small-scale (1 kW) vertical-axis wind turbines that are being monitored to evaluate performance for distributed applications.
Fuel Cells and Batteries
Integrated Energy Systems
- Grid Systems Integration;
- Energy Storage Systems;
- Smart Grids;
HNEI goes beyond traditional academic research to play a significant role in managing public-private partnerships, conducting testing and evaluation, and supporting analysis for state energy policy and support
These functions are inter-related, and overlap by design, in order to maximize collaboration and leverage resources
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
TECHNICAL IMPLEMENTATION AND VALIDATION
ANALYSIS AND MODELING