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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gas Company, GM to test hydrogen fuel-cell technology on Oahu

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A prototype of the new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle was shown by representatives from General Motors and the Gas Co. today.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The Gas Company is entering into a partnership with General Motors Corp. to test hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology on Oahu, possibly leading to greater use of the renewable fuel in vehicles here.

The two companies this morning announced they will collaborate on a pilot project that takes advantage of The Gas Co.'s 1,000 miles of pipeline and its ability to produce hydrogen at its Campbell Industrial Park plant. Hydrogen fueling stations will be set up along the pipeline for fuel cell vehicles.

The companies said the hydrogen may be available at the equivalent price of gasoline or less. GM is developing a production-intent fuel cell system that could be ready for commercialization in 2015.

The giant automaker said Hawaii is uniquely positioned to adopt hydrogen-powered vehicles and that its infrastructure could support tens of thousands of fuel cell vehicles eventually.

GM said it has invested more than $1.5 billion in fuel cell transportation in the last 15 years and is developing a production-intent fuel cell system that could be ready for commercialization in 2015.

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye said he had a role in introducing the two companies and that the collaboration was part of a broad forming to develop a Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative as part of an integrated energy solution for Hawaii's future.

"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," Inouye said in a press statement.

"I am committed to support the resourcing of this endeavor."

The Gas Co. produces hydrogen along with synthetic natural gas and delivers it in its utility gas stream, with more than 5 percent hydrogen content today. Jeffrey Kissel, company president and chief executive officer, said the company can deliver even greater quantities as demand develops.