Hawai'i Nets-to-Energy Program
Nets on a beach in Hawaii.
Nets on a beach in Hawaii.

Marine debris of all types accumulates in and around the islands of Hawai'i due to oceanic currents and winds in the North Pacific. Much of the debris is made up of fishing nets, a type of gear not used by Hawaii's fisheries, that have been lost, abandoned, or discarded. Fishermen, communities, and trained divers remove these derelict nets from the environment. Instead of adding the nets to already congested landfills, in 2002, Hawaii's multi-partner marine debris group devised a unique program to use this marine debris to create usable electricity.

The nets are transported to a Schnitzer Steel Corporation, which is a mainland-based scrap metal recycler, facility in Hawai'i. There, the nets are chopped into small pieces suitable for combustion at the City and County of Honolulu's H-Power energy from waste facility run by Covanta Energy. Schnitzer Steel Hawai'i Corporation transports the chopped net pieces to the H-Power facility. The nets are then burned, producing steam which drives a turbine that creates usable electricity. All services (transport included) are donated free of charge.The Hawai'i Nets-To-Energy program is possible only through the partnership and support of Hawaii's multi-organizational marine debris group. Since 2002, over 800 tons of derelict nets have been used to create electricity—enough to power nearly 350 Hawai'i homes for a year.