Kumejima Town studies deep water in collaboration with Kona City of Hawaii

September 3, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Kumejima Town and Kona City of Hawaii, both of which have deep-sea water pipelines in their regions, indicated their intention to sign a sister-city agreement in Kona City on September 11 aimed at stimulating collaborative research on deep-ocean water and people-to-people exchange.

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), which is located in Kona City, has deep-sea water pipelines boasting one of the world’s largest seawater intake capacities.

Mayor of Kumejima Town Choko Taira and 20 other people involved in the town will attend the ceremony.

Once the sister-city relationship is established, Kumejima intends to set up an office and the Kumejima chapter of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association to encourage collaborative projects in the fields of industry, education and culture.

Representatives from both the United States and Japanese governments and people from Okinawa Prefecture participated in the first New Energy Workshop held in Hawaii in August 2010. During that workshop, interested in what heard from their Kumejima counterparts, Kona City representatives suggested establishing the relationship with Kumejima Town. People from Kona City visited Kumejima Town on November 11 and formally sent a letter to Mayor Taira.

Kona City is located on the island of Hawaii and has a population of about 10000 people. Its main industries are tourism and agriculture.

The original facilities of NELHA were constructed at Keahole Point in 1980.

The NELHA seawater supply system has a daily pumping capacity of 14000 metric tons of water at an intake depth of 619 meters, 73000 metric tons at a depth of 675 meters and 160000 metric tons at 915 meters.

NELHA is involved in a diverse range of projects, including alternative energy production from renewable resources such as ocean thermal energy conversion, agricultural use and freshwater production and cultivation.

With the establishment of the Okinawa Prefecture Deep Sea Water Research Center (maja) in 2000, Kumejima Town is striving to boost the development of the area, focusing on deep sea water projects.

This March, the town compiled a report on fundamental research into the complex utilization of deep water, putting forward concepts for ocean thermal energy conversion.

With regard to visiting the United States, Mayor Taira said, “Kumejima Town and Kona City will be able to share information through the sister-city relationship, promoting deep-sea water projects.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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