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NELHA as a Learning Environment


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by Wainanae Traub

Published in: Environment
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NELHA as a Learning Environment

  1. 1. Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA)• Established in 1974 this 322 acre facility was created to provide a support facility for research on the ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) process• States most innovative ocean science and technology park• Sustainable industries for the 21st Century – Solar Energy – Aquaculture – Marine Biotechnology – Coldwater Agriculture• Landlord to nearly 30 thriving enterprises – Generates about $30-40 million per year in total economic impact – Over 200 jobs
  2. 2. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)• The worlds leading facility for this area of research and development.• Two pipeline systems pump deep and surface seawater to shore 24/7. Cold deep seawater (DSW) is delivered onshore at 6ºC (43ºF) from a 2,000-foot depth.• OTEC uses the difference between cold deep seawater and warm surface seawater to run a heat engine and produce useful work, in the form of electricity.
  3. 3. NELHA’s Mission "To develop and diversify the Hawaii economy by providing resources and facilities for energy and ocean-related research, education, and commercial activities in an environmentally sound and culturally sensitive manner."• NELHA is located in the sunniest coastal area in the U.S.• NELHA tenants utilize solar technology and/or dual temperature sea water systems (DSW and surface water) to support sustainable industries.• In 1994 the West Hawaii Explorations Academy (WHEA) was established at NELHA to take advantage of the many resources of this growing ocean science and technology community.
  4. 4. West Hawaii Explorations Academy (WHEA)•Nationally recognized laboratory school•Science-focused, outdoor, hands-on education•Self-directed learning environment•Located in the Natural Energy Laboratory of HawaiiAuthority (NELHA)•Hawaii’s first charter high school
  5. 5. Photovoltaic Solar Panels• WHEA is powered by a 10 KW photovoltaic system• Average output of approximately 50 KWH per day AC• Supplies 110 percent of school needs at peak hours• WHEA sells the excess electricity back to the Hawaii Electric and Light Company• WHEA is located in the sunniest coastal area in the U.S.
  6. 6. Student Directed Projects• Over 50 Sustainability-related projects• Environmentally focused• Sustainable Designs – Recycled Materials – Solar Powered – Drip irrigation through cold ag condensation – Water Recirculation Systems
  7. 7. WHEA Projects Implementing Sustainable Practices• Aloha Kai • Opihi• Anchialine Ponds • Outdoor Ed.• Aquaponics • Plankton• Cold Ag • Recycled Boat• Cold Ag Aquaponics • Reef Teach• Cold Ag Hydroponics • Robotics• Coral Diseases • School Gardens• Fish Fertilizer • Shark Lagoon• Geo-Dome • Snorkel Survey• Green Team • Solar Cookers• Hydroponics • Spuds• Invasive Algae • Tide Pool Survey• Malama Lama • Turtle Survey• Medicinal Plants • Urchin Survey• Native Ponds • Water Quality• Nursery• O’oma Forest• Ogo
  8. 8. Gardening Projects• Organic Fertilizers• Inspires students to grow their own food• Forest Restoration• Farmer’s Market• Efficient use of water – Cold Ag drip irrigation – Water Recirculation – Polyculture – Use of Aquaculture Effluent
  9. 9. Coldwater Agriculture Gardens•Series of gardens watered by the condensation of coldwater agriculture provided byNELHA . The condensation from the pipes chills the soil dramatically increasing yields forland-based crops.
  10. 10. Aquaponics• Efficient and sustainable way of farming• Powered by a solar pump• Water recirculation using aquaculture effluent• Promotes sustainability for our Island
  11. 11. Geo-Dome•Cold Agriculture Hydroponics•Water Recirculation System•Solar Powered•Plants watered by cold ag pipes
  12. 12. Green Team• Promotes sustainability at WHEA and in students lives outside of school• Records plastic bottle use and water use on campus• Created a public service announcement commercial to promote reusable shopping bags• Organized a light bulb exchange• In-charge of the school’s recycling
  13. 13. Aloha Kai Educational ToursAloha Kai Tours are run entirely by high schoolstudents who give mini-lessons in marine andenvironmental science relating to campusprojects. Aloha Kai serves nearly 2,000 visitingstudents, parents, and teachers annually.
  14. 14. Off-Campus Survey Projects• The purpose of survey projects are to determine if the overall health of an ecosystem is remaining stable or declining overtime due to development, human impact, and the introduction of invasive species.• Off-campus survey projects allow students to promote sustainable ecosystems on Hawaii Island through water quality measurements, reforestation, the removal of alien species, population counts, and educational presentations informing the public about Hawaii’s unique and fragile ecosystems.
  15. 15. Reef Teach• WHEA works in partnership with the Kohala Center’s Reef Teach program.• Reef Teach volunteers educate visitors at Kahaluu Bay on the importance and fragility of coral.• WHEA students collect data on people who accept and reject education and analyze the data to see if Reef Teach education is effective in reducing human impact on coral.• Based on the data collected from WHEA students, Reef Teach education has been proven to be successful at a 99 percent confidence level.
  16. 16. O’oma Forest Survey• O’oma Forest project members survey the O’oma Forest’s biodiversity to calculate the percentage of native versus invasive species. The data collected is analyzed to determine if native species are being outnumbered by invasive plants.
  17. 17. Anchialine Pond Survey Project• The Anchialine Ponds Survey Project tests the water quality of anchialine ponds near the Kohanaiki golf course and compares the results to an isolated anchialine pond to determine if the fertilizer run off from the golf course is impacting the water quality of the ponds.
  18. 18. Works CitedKeahole Point. Photograph. Kailua-Kona. Dream Green. Web. 10 June 2011. <http://dream->.Nautilus Shell. Photograph. Discovering Fossils. Web. 10 June 2011. <>.NELHA. Photograph. Kailua-Kona. Hawaii Deep Seawater. Web. 11 June 2011. <>.OTEC. Photograph. Kailua-Kona. Smokey Bay. Web. 10 June 2011. <>.Solar Panel. Photograph. Kailua-Kona. Web. 10 June 2011. <>.