GM, Hawaii, and Hydrogen: a great combination
Traditional gas is going to be a thing of the past if General Motors has a say in it.
And guess what?
General Motors has teamed up with Hawaii’s major gas energy provider, The Gas Company (TGC) to provide hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles in that state.
Currently, Hawaii utilized imported petroleum for about 90% of their energy according to Charles Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Activities, and pilot project with General Motors will hopefully dramatically decrease that number soon.
TGC currently produces hydrogen and synthetic natural gas and flows it along the utility gas stream. This process already in place will allow for a smooth transition into providing local fueling stations with hydrogen 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 Freese. “The Hawaii infrastructure could eventually support tens of thousands of fuel cell vehicles.”
Check out full story and the slide show from the presentation of General Motor’s hydrogen collaboration project with The Gas Company of Hawaii after the jump.
Jeffrey Kissel, president and CEO of TGC, is obviously 100% behind this project. He says that TGC has been delivering about 12% of hydrogen to its customers for the past 2-3 years and he expects that number to grow as they plan to play a vital role in Hawaii’s clean energy future.
This hydrogen project is a HUGE step in the right direction in increasing the health and wellbeing of our planet and, in turn, the human race. Another great thing about this pilot project is that the hydrogen used to power the fuel cells might actually match the price of gas or be priced even lower.
It’s about time fuel cell vehicle technology got cut a little break. There are some awesome fuel cell vehicles like the Honda FCX, Ford’s Edge and Fusion, and Mercedes’ A- and B-Class F-Cell vehicles that are just waiting to be brought out in all of their green glory. Then, there are the ones that haven’t been named yet like Toyota’s $50,000 sedan due out in 2015. Let’s get with the times, people! We also can’t forget to mention the Hydrogen Chevrolet Equinox which will be the vehicle used in the pilot hydrogen program in Hawaii. This breakthrough combined with the amazing fuel cell vehicles out there could catapult the support for the hydrogen fuel cell technology to a level worthy of its greatness. The prospect is unbelievably amazing.
Abundant hydrogen is available on the 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 Tuesday.
TGC produces hydrogen along with synthetic natural gas and delivers it in its utility gas stream, with more than 5 percent 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 percent of its energy,” he said.
The state is committed to reducing petroleum use by 70 percent through a combination of renewable energy resources, conservation and efficiency. The use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel could be a key contributor.
“We have been delivering as much as 12 percent 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 gasoline 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 commercialization 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 2007.
U.S. Senator Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, said he supports the pilot project.
“My small role was one of introduction between these two companies, not that many months ago, which resulted in this business announcement today,” Inouye said. “It is an important step forward in the establishment of a hydrogen transportation infrastructure upon which new fleets, both military and civilian, can be tested and utilized. I am committed to support the resourcing of this endeavor.
“Every step to reduce our dependency on foreign oil is a move forward,” he said.
The GM-TGC collaboration is the leading edge of a broad consortium of federal and state, non-profit and education organizations that is forming to develop a Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative as part of an integrated energy solution for Hawaii’s future.