In July 2006 I talked about how a Hawaiian hydrogen economy was in development. Depending upon who you ask, Hawaii imports 90 to 100-percent of its petroleum from outside of the islands.
In November 2006, I had talked about how Hawaii’s first hydrogen fueling station was opening at Hickam Air Force Base that would be used to refuel a 30-foot hydrogen hybrid shuttle bus. And in May 2008, I had talked about how H2 Technologies was developing home hydrogen fueling stations using renewable energy and water with the help of a $50 million Hawaiian bond program.
Now General Motors (GM) and The Gas Company (TGC) have taken another step toward making Hawaii a “Hydrogen Island”. The Gas Company is already the major supplier of natural gas and hydrogen among the islands.
TGC wants to use its existing 1,000 mile pipeline infrastructure plus a proprietary separation process for natural gas to create hydrogen as needed at currently operating fueling stations. One also wonders why this same infrastructure cannot one day be used for home refueling stations as well.
According to GM, “TGC plans to tap into its 1,000-mile utility pipeline system at key locations and separate the hydrogen for use by local fueling stations for fuel cell vehicles … this is the type of enabler that a hydrogen transportation infrastructure needs because it addresses both the source of the hydrogen and a feasible way to deliver it for fuel cell vehicle use. The Hawaii infrastructure could eventually support tens of thousands of fuel cell vehicles.”
It is unclear at this point, what GM’s role in this is other than to supply the Project Driveway vehicles (perhaps financing?) and if other hydrogen vehicles are excluded from this pilot program. If successful, Hawaii could surpass California, New York and Florida in implementing a statewide hydrogen refueling infrastructure by the year 2015, when the major automakers have stated that production H2 cars will be rolling out.