An introduction to Hawaii ecotourism and sustainability on Hawaii Island

Hawaii ecotourism and sustainability

Hawaii ecotourism and sustainability tours on Hawaii Island

Sustainability and ecotourism on the islands are starting to make more inroads around Hawaii which is blessed with amazing resources of sun, ocean, rain and land. Sustainabiity issues have always been important but always have been a struggle with regulations, lack of innovation and talent, but things are finally changing especially on Hawaii Island where with the help of Government agencies and private enterprise along with new incubator and research technology leading the way to a brighter future on the islands.

For those interested in looking for innovative discovery tours take a look at the amazing tours offered at Keahole Center for Sustainability on Hawaii Island. Focused on eco and sustainability projects in Hawaii, the Keahole center is at the forefront of showcasing all the exciting Aquaculture, alternative energy and other cool and innovative programs offered at HOST or the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park.

Hawaii ecotourism and sustainability tours on Hawaii Island

Hawaii’s mandate to be 100 percent energy self sufficient by 2045

Hawaii is mandated by the state to become 100 percent self sustainable by 2045 with this aggressive clean energy initiative signed into law by Governor Ige. Through this bill, Hawaii is leading the way from rest of the country in creating new clean energy initiatives, harvest the energy from the sun and ocean (two unlimited sources on the islands) incubation programs, and food development with aquaculture farms leading the way in local food production.

Hawaii's mandate to be 100 percent energy self sufficient by 2045

Enter Nelha and the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park

A visit to the Hawaii Ocean Science technology park in West Hawaii on the Big Island showcases many innovations happening with clean energy, food production and effectively harnessing sun and  ocean resources. The tech and innovation park is administered through Nelha, the state organization that oversees all the programs and companies operating in the park. Harnessing the two limitless resources of the sun and ocean in Hawaii, new incubation programs, research programs and full commercial production facilities make up a large industry and economic impact on the local economy including over 600 jobs that support these eco and sustainable industries on the island.

Enter Nelha and the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park

Nelha manages over 60 projects from research to commercial viability and production

The Keahole Center for Sustainability

You can get an orientation to all these innovative companies at the Keahole Center for Sustainabiity, you can sign up for an orientation visit and then tour some of the popular research facilities and various companies that showcase these innovative programs into commercial development. The director of the Center Candee Ellsworth, gives a fantastic overviews in their award winning LEED building created to mimic the massive sails of the seafaring Hawaiian canoes that originally traversed around the islands. Located right next to the Kona International Airport, the center stands out with its grid patterned wings and solar panels and a passive cooling system with its copper roof.

The Keahole, Center for Sustainability

Inside the center is a vast array of the main innovators in the area, feature videos that give a great overview to the park, research and companies along with some smaller scale projects that showcase different aspects of energy, growing food and even art projects that are eco friendly and fun for the whole family to enjoy.

Introduction to the ocean based sustainable technologies and research

The Keahole, Center for Sustainability interior hall and exhibits

Through the Keahole center, guests learn about all the current innovations and cutting-edge enterprises operating at HOST (Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park) including aquaculture farms from Kona lobster, dungeness crab, shrimp, mussel, clams and abalone farms, salt production, ocean fish farming to name a few of the successful ventures so far. Along with the orientation at the center, you also get to tour some of the fantastic projects that are coming into production and commercial viability. Following the tour director, we visit some of the individual companies that are creating micro industries in the park.

Cooking solar technology displays at Keahole Center for Sustainability
Cooking solar technology displays at Keahole Center for Sustainability

Keahole center for sustainability 29

Main energy drivers in Hawaii and at HOST

So what are the leading innovating energy focus on becoming self sustaining and creating other sources of energy on the island.

Basically the main sources for unlimited power come from to following:

Wind power with wind turbine farms in Hawaii

Hydro energy in Hawaii

Geo Thermal power in Hawaii

Solar technology and power in Hawaii

Heat Exchangers – a research project that is now a viable commercial project, heat exchange mechanisms from the Makai Ocean Engineering has been studied extensively and is at commercial phase. This energy project utilizes unlimited resource of cold deep ocean waters mixed with warm waters from the surface to turn turbines and process energy into the grid.

Check out how heat exchangers or OTEC create power through the use of cold and warm ocean water technology for sunlight and ocean energy combined with unlimited resources.

Community-Based Tourism in Hawaii

Nelha the state orgination that overseas the Technology park helps to foster community based tourism in Hawaii through a variety of immersion experiences through Keahole Center for Sustainability, a specialty school that focuses on all these fantastic innovation in technology and science and even job training.

kona lobster

Aquaculture industry growth in Hawaii

Ocean water piped deep from the ocean depths outside of Makaha bay into the Nelha center and and then dispersed into the various small enterprises that utilize fresh and clean ocean water to sustain various aquaculture industries. Creating a new economic potential with the aquaculture industry that has created economic based industries utilizing new aqua farming technology.

Sustainable Kampachi fish farming in Hawaii

Abalone farming at Nelha at HOST

Kona Kampachi ocean farmed fish

Algae feed additive for livestock feed

Algae is being created and used as an additive to livestock feed. This type of feed can reduce global greenhouse methane gas on livestock by over 90 percent with the use of algae developed in Hawaii.

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Hawaiian salt making at Kona Sea Salt

Fresh Hawaiian sea salt is made with deep and pure ocean water and solar evaporation technology to create their Hawaiian sea salt which is loaded with flavor and natural minerals. This includes iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iodine which is enriched from the deep ocean waters from Makaha Bay. Hand cured and harvested within 8 – 10 weeks in solarized collection beds using the sun’s energy to create pure sea salt from Hawaii.

Other cool Ocean resourced projects and products

At the HOST park, so many other innovative companies study and produce a variety of products that utilize clean ocean water to make viable products. This includes salt making, algae creation, nutriceuticals, biodiesel commodities and many other green technologies at the incubation stage of research and development.

Check out these other related topics

An eco shoreline tour at Makaha Bay in Hawaii

Creating an Eco Friendly Kitchen in Hawaii

Be self sustainable in Hawaii

Plant a garden in Hawaii

Staying healthy and boost your immune system

Farmers markets in Hawaii

Lessons learned to living in Hawaii

Conclusion to Hawaii ecotourism and sustainability

Conclusion to Hawaii ecotourism and sustainability

Hawaii is leading the way and at the forefront in alternative energy, aquaculture technology and ocean conservation. If you plan on visiting Hawaii and looking for a fascinating visit too see ecotourism and sustainability on the islands, check out the Keahole Center for Sustainability next to the airport and you’ll be impressed with all the cool things happening in Kona.

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  1. Cathy Sweeney

    I love seeing the progress of sustainability practices and goals in places like Hawaii. It’s also important to be promoting eco-tourism. I’d like to take one of the eco tours next time I visit.

    • emorata

      Ecotourism and sustainability on Hawaii is starting to become more important as the focus is not all tourist focused on the economy

  2. Tom Bartel

    Noel, thanks for the primer on the sustainability efforts in Hawaii. So important these days. And, making Hawaii even more of a paradise! Can’t wait to get back.

    • emorata

      Yes there’s so much to see visiting the islands but sustainability in Hawaii is now becomming more important for the islands.

  3. Jeff & Crystal Bryant

    It’s good to see Hawaii’s desire to grow in sustainability. I believe they are ahead of the curve and other states will be scrambling to catch up in the near future. It has become apparent that we need to become more “user-friendly” with our planet and learn to ration our precious resources.

    • emorata

      Yes Sustainability in Hawaii is important with this isolated island chain



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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.