Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center

OTEC Test Site

OTEC Component Test Facility at NELHA

P.M.: Dr. Luis Vega, HINMREC

Objective:  Establish and maintain a testing site for OTEC system components.

Presently: Since the late 1980’s, OTEC demonstrations and studies have been conducted at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA) facility at Keahole Point (www.nelha.org).


  210 kW Open Cycle OTEC Experimental Plant operated by Vega et al 1993-1998 






Project: The Center has teamed with  Makai Ocean Engineering to conduct long-term corrosion and bicorrosion testing of aluminum exposed to flowing seawater at their  heat exchangers test facility (OTEC HXs Test Facility_Dec 2011 ).  The aluminum corrosion and biocorrosion testing results previously obtained by HINMREC associated faculty have been incorporated into the testing program at this facility.  Aluminum was chosen as a baseline for corrosion testing because of the relatively low cost of the material; multiple options for fabrication; and, relatively good corrosion resistance based on prior research.  Material selection was largely based on the previous study by Argonne National Laboratory (Acceptability of Aluminum Alloys for OTEC Heat Exchangers), which was funded by the Department of Energy (DoE) from 1983‐1987. The latest report from this facility documents ongoing tests and identifies Aluminum Alloys that can be used in OTEC heat exchangers (evaporators and condensers):  OTEC Heat Exchanger Project_Aluminum Corrosion

Heat Exchangers Test Facility_MOE

Makai Ocean Engineering Heat Exchangers Test Facility