Thursday, December 9, 2010
General Motors-led consortium to deliver hydrogen infrastructure to Hawaii by 2015
The Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative aims to integrate hydrogen into efforts to reduce the state’s 90 per cent dependence on imported oil.
The consortium’s goal is to install between 20 and 25 hydrogen stations in strategic locations around the island.
‘Hydrogen, used as a fuel, will reduce our dependence on petroleum starting today,’ said The Gas Company CEO Jeff Kissel.
The plan builds on a memorandum of understanding between General Motors and The Gas Company, which is one of Hawaii’s major utilities.
While The Gas Company produces enough hydrogen to power up to 10,000 fuel cell vehicles, General Motors fields the world’s largest fuel cell demonstration fleet.
The partners are evaluating methods to distribute hydrogen through existing natural gas pipelines in order to address the long-standing problem of how to cost effectively produce and distribute hydrogen.
‘In Hawaii, we want to address the proverbial chicken or egg dilemma,’ said Charles Freese, executive director of General Motors’ fuel cell operations.
‘There has always been a looming issue over how to ensure that the vehicles and the necessary hydrogen refueling infrastructure are delivered to market at the same time.’
The hydrogen initiative in the Hawaii will pave the way for building hydrogen infrastructure within a set time frame that can be adopted by other US states, as well as in Europe and Asia, according to Freese.
‘Germany, Japan and Korea are all building hydrogen infrastructures within this same timeframe. The work in Hawaii can provide a template for other regions,’ said Freese.
The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and the US Department of Energy (DOE) are partnering on the Hawaii hydrogen initiative, together with US marine and army forces and clean energy companies such as FuelCell Energy.
Hawaii launched the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative in partnership with the US DOE in 2008, with a goal of generating 70 per cent of the state’s power from renewable or energy efficient sources. Read more here.