Hawaii and GM plan ahead for hydrogen cars

Watch out, Hawaii Five-O, here comes H2I-the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative, a plan aimed at integrating hydrogen as an essential building block for Hawaii’s sustainable energy future.

The plan is involves ten companies, agencies and universities that have joined an initiative between The Gas Company (TGC), one of Hawaii’s major utilities,and General Motors to make hydrogen-powered vehicles and a fueling infrastructure a reality in Hawaii by 2015.

TGC currently produces enough hydrogen to power up to 10,000 fuel cell vehicles and, according to a recent release, has the capacity to produce “much more.”

GM has deployed a demonstration fleet of 100 fuel cell vehicles (the world’s largest) in the past three years and clearly plans on being the fuel cell vehicle of choice for Hawaiians.

Their joint plan seeks to beat the proverbial “chicken or egg” syndrome by helping to ensure that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and the infrastructure necessary to support them arrive at the same time in order to ensure optimal conditions for drivers to adopt this new technology.

“Hawaii is on the cutting edge of developing the infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles and adopting the latest clean energy technologies to move our islands toward energy independence and sustainability,” said Richard Lim, acting director, state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. 

He goes on to note that H2I is a unique partnership that has brought together public, private and community partners and could provide a model for other states to follow.

* Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling