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The NEHLA Gateway Energy Center / Visitor Center
Near the Kona Airport is the pioneering aquaculture area run by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), which is recognized worldwide as a unique and innovative Ocean Science and Technology Park. Aquaculture operations at the site include algae farms, a seahorse farm, deep sea water bottling, tilapia and abalone farms, and more.
* KOYO, which bottles desalinated deep sea water for affluent consumers in Japan, is Hawaii's biggest exporter with $140 million of sales. Its 1.5 liter bottles of Mahalo brand water sell for around $7 in Japan.
* Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) was the original purpose of the park. Though building an OTEC plant has proven to be expensive, the deep sea water can be used to grow algae which can be used for bio fuel.
* Cyanotech is the park's largest tenant with over 90 acres of algae growing facilities. The company uses the fast growing, nutrient rich plant to make nutritional products it markets under the BioAstin and Hawaii Spirulina Pacifica names.
Come visit us at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), recognized worldwide as a unique and innovative distributed & renewable energy, ocean science and technology park. Public presentations are held weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
90 Minutes at the Hawaii Gateway Energy Center
• NELHA's history and present day goals
• Overview of current NELHA tenant activities
• About NELHA tenant products
Admission Donation: $8 per adult, $5 for students and seniors (65+), children age 8 and under free. Visa and Mastercard accepted.
Private Group Presentations
Private Group Presentations can be arranged by advance request and are designed to meet your group's specific needs and interests.
Cost: $8/adult, $5/student or senior (65+) with a minimum of $60. Funds go to Friends of NELHA for education and outreach programs. Group fees can be paid by check, money order or Visa/Mastercard. Call Guy Toyama at (808) 938-1017 for details.
Deep Seawater Aquaculture Tour
Tour of a deep seawater abalone farm and tasting is available as an option which follows the Monday, Wednesday or Thursday Presentations.
Cost: $18 per adult or $15 per senior/student for package including presentation and abalone tour and tasting.
Friends of NELHA
The Friends of NELHA is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and outreach programs at NELHA. Friends of NELHA (FON) has established an Ambassador Program consisting of local resident volunteers who provide enthusiastic and informative presentations to visitors with the goal of educating the public about the resources unique to NELHA and the technological applications being conducted by tenants.
Directions: Located just South of the Kona Keahole Airport on Hwy 19 (the Belt Road). Look for the visitor's center near the Highway, a building with large solar panels on the top (pictured above); it's hard to miss. (Note: the satellite map is not up to date).