Honolulu, Hawaii – General Motors is collaborating with numerous companies, agencies and universities on a project to make hydrogen-powered vehicles and a refuelling infrastructure a reality in Hawaii by 2015.

The plan, called the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative, aims to integrate hydrogen as an essential building block for Hawaii’s sustainable energy ecosystem. The program is a joint venture of GM and The Gas Company (TGC) and has a goal of 20 to 25 hydrogen stations to be installed in strategic locations around the island.

The plan builds on a May 2010 memorandum of understanding between TGC, one of Hawaii’s major utilities, and the automaker. TGC currently produces enough hydrogen to power up to 10,000 fuel cell vehicles and has the capacity to produce much more. General Motors fielded the world’s largest fuel cell demonstration fleet, comprising more than 100 vehicles, beginning in 2007.

The initiative partners are evaluating methods to distribute hydrogen through existing natural gas pipelines to address the longstanding problem of how to cost-effectively produce and distribute hydrogen.

“In Hawaii, we want to address the proverbial chicken or egg dilemma,” said Charles Freese, executive director of GM fuel cell activities. “There has always been a looming issue over how to ensure that the vehicles and the necessary hydrogen refuelling infrastructure are delivered to the market at the same time. Our efforts in Hawaii will help us meet that challenge. Once the key hydrogen infrastructure elements are proven in Hawaii, other states can adopt similar approaches. Germany, Japan and Korea are all building infrastructures within this same time frame. The work in Hawaii can provide a template for other regions.”

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