General Motors is collaborating with The Gas Company, a Hawaiian gas provider, to test hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the island of Oahu.
“The companies said Tuesday that the project will take advantage of The Gas Co.'s 1,000 miles of pipeline on Oahu and its ability to produce hydrogen at its plant at Campbell Industrial Park, which makes synthetic natural gas from byproducts of imported petroleum,” reports the Associated Press. “The gasses would be separated at fueling stations located along the pipeline so fuel cell vehicles could use the hydrogen.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, “The Detroit automaker said it already has a fuel cell vehicle on the ground in Hawaii and that it expects to put fewer than 50 there as part of program to test the vehicles.”
Testing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the Aloha State makes for an interesting experiment. Reuters correctly notes that “[a]mong the hurdles to using hydrogen as a transportation fuel are the lack of a fueling station network and the higher cost of hydrogen compared with gasoline.” However, Hawaii already has the necessary infrastructure in place and gas is more expensive there than on the mainland.
“Depending on how hydrogen pricing is set, it could be available for the same cost as gasoline, or less,” writes the Detroit Free Press. “If successful, the pilot program could serve as a model for creating a network of fueling stations across the continental U.S.”
The Associated Press reports, “Detroit-based 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.”