Where the Ocean Melds with Sci­ence

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - TOURING -

Lo­cated at Kea­hole Point, one mile south of the Kona In­ter­na­tional Air­port, the Nat­u­ral En­ergy Lab­o­ra­tory of Hawai‘i Author­ity is a sprawl­ing 800-acre com­plex pop­u­lated by en­trepreneurs en­gaged in in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy and prod­uct devel­op­ment.

Here, the State of Hawai‘i is de­vel­op­ing an ar­ray of re­new­able en­ergy sources. Sci­en­tists ex­plore geo­ther­mal en­ergy (stored at the Earth’s core), wind power, hy­dro­gen en­ergy (pol­lu­tion-free en­ergy car­ri­ers) and var­i­ous biomass en­ergy (a re­new­able re­source drawn from plant mat­ter).

NEHLA also is the only place in the world where the vast nat­u­ral re­sources of sun­light and sea­wa­ter are har­nessed to sup­port ex­cit­ing new aqua­cul­ture tech­nolo­gies. Huge in­take pipe­lines are used to de­liver cold, deep-sea water from 3,000 feet be­low to trop­i­cal-warm sur­face sea­wa­ter. “Tech­no­ma­gi­cians” use the cold sea­wa­ter to cool build­ings as well as grow crea­tures like cold-water abalone, lob­ster, Ja­panese floun­der and more—all crea­tures that couldn’t ex­ist in Hawai‘i’s warm wa­ters. The abalone farm con­ducts reg­u­lar tours in con­junc­tion with a gen­eral pre­sen­ta­tion and of­fers a taste of the fresh del­i­cacy.

For more in­for­ma­tion about NELHA or tour reser­va­tions, call (808) 327-9586 or visit www.nelha.org.

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