NELHA announces three new business startups at HOST

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The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is sharing space with three new business startups.


The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is sharing space with three new business startups.

Hawaii Kai Technologies and Forever Oceans recently signed long-term leases with NELHA. Another company, EnKon Hawaii LLC, has also began manufacturing operations at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park.

Hawaii Kai Technologies is a firm that has been specializing in gourmet salts from Molokai since 2003. The company is expected to start production of deep-sea salt and desalinated water at NELHA’s HOST Park in November.

NELHA Executive Director Gregory Barbour said in a press release, “we have been chasing these folks as long as I can remember and we were finally able to negotiate a long-term deal with them. We are excited that Hawaii Kai has chosen to expand its business at NELHA and produce unique products from the deep sea water we pump from a depth of 3,000 feet.”

Barbour added that “The Hawaii Kai project is a direct result of NELHA’s efforts to attract diverse commercial enterprises that will make use of the agency’s unique resources and contribute to the diversification of West Hawaii’s economy.”

Barbour said Hawaii Kai is currently installing utilities and basic infrastructure at the park, and they’ve already hired Bolton Inc. as a contractor.

The other startup business, Forever Oceans, is a corporation formed to commercialize open-ocean aquaculture. According to the release, Lockheed Martin teamed up with Kampachi Farms, an existing NELHA client, to form the company.

The new sublease, on approximately 6.8 acres, will allow Forever Oceans to proceed with commercial demonstrations in waters off Keauhou and elsewhere in the world. Barbour said the company has already began bringing in equipment and is operating out of the former West Hawaii Exploration Academy school.

The other company mentioned, EnKon Hawaii LLC, has moved about $1.5 million in equipment in and is subletting a portion of the Destiny Deepsea Water Works building, Barbour said. EnKon Hawaii LLC specializes in fabricating preforms for the beverage industry and will export about half of its product back to the beverage industry on Oahu.

He said the manufacturing jobs are new and exciting for Kona.

“You don’t see a lot of manufacturing jobs here,” he said.


Barbour said the businesses anticipate to hire locally, as well.

NELHA is also talking with another company to have shrimp hatcheries on site that could be sold for local consumption in the future, Barbour added.