GM Looks to Hawaii for Hydrogen Infrastructure Pilot
30th May, 2010
Abundant hydrogen is available on the Hawaiian island of Oahu
to power a ramp-up of fuel cell vehicles through a General Motors collaboration with The Gas Company (TGC),
Hawaii’s major gas energy provider, the two companies announced recently.
TGC produces hydrogen along with synthetic natural gas and delivers it in its utility gas stream, with
more than 5 per cent hydrogen content today. Through a proprietary separation process, 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,” said
Charles Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Activities. “The Hawaii infrastructure could
eventually support tens of thousands of fuel cell vehicles”.
“Hawaii is uniquely positioned and motivated to make hydrogen-powered fuel cell transportation a
reality because it depends on imported petroleum for 90 per cent of its energy,” he said.
The state is committed to reducing petroleum use by 70 per cent through a combination of renewable
energy resources, conservation and efficiency. The use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel could be a key
“We have been delivering as much as 12 per cent hydrogen made from renewable sources to our gas
customers over the last two to three years and expect we can deliver even greater quantities of hydrogen as
demand increases,” said Jeffrey Kissel, president and CEO of TGC. “By delivering hydrogen through
our existing infrastructure as vehicle fuel wherever we have gas, The Gas Company expands its key role of
supporting Hawaii’s clean energy future.”
Depending how the pricing for the hydrogen is set, it could be available at the equivalent price of
petrol or less.
GM, which has invested more than $1.5 billion in fuel cell transportation in the last 15 years, is
developing a production-intent fuel cell system that could be ready for commercialisation in 2015. Current
Chevrolet Fuel Cell vehicles are part of Project Driveway, the world’s largest demonstration of fuel cell
vehicles, which has amassed nearly 1.4 million miles of real-world driving by thousands of people since
The GM-TGC collaboration is the leading edge of a broad consortium of federal and state, non-profit and
education organisations that is forming to develop a Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative as part of an integrated
energy solution for Hawaii’s future.