Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center


The primary objective of the Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center (HINMREC), housed at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) of the University of Hawaii (UH), is to facilitate the development of commercial wave energy systems. HINMREC assisted the US Navy in the implementation of a grid-connected wave energy test site (WETS) at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe. WETS provides multiple-berthing for prototype wave energy conversion (WEC) devices in the 10 to 1000 kW range in water depths of 30 m, 60 m and 80 m allowing developers to prove their devices and generate the necessary data to advance their designs toward commercial readiness.

HINMREC assess the power performance of WEC devices and evaluates their potential environmental impact. HINMREC uses directional Waverider buoys to provide real time incoming wave data for use in the evaluation of WEC device performance and hydrophones to determine their acoustic signature providing a much needed input to the environmental impact assessment of WEC technologies. A link to a recently completed video clip about WETS is found at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHpW8SE9Ptk

A second objective of HINMREC is to assist the private sector move ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) systems beyond proof-of-concept to pre-commercialization. The technical role of the Center is primarily focus on system and component engineering and local and global environmental studies. HINMREC maintains high-resolution models of the ocean thermal resource and sustainable power output with OTEC systems. Ongoing tests will be continued to identify aluminum alloys for use for devices operating in the corrosive marine environment.

HINMREC endeavors to facilitate partnerships between the nascent marine renewable energy industry, utility companies, government agencies, NGOs, engineering firms, environmental consultants, and academia. HINMREC provides advisory and facilitator services to developers using the UH environmental and engineering databases; numerical models; and, know-how required to evaluate OTEC and WEC concepts and designs.

HINMREC is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Wind and Water Power Technologies Office through a contract awarded to the Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI).