One of the hurdles for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to overcome is the lack of an established refueling network. Although small numbers of fuel cell vehicles are in operation as fleets, their ranges are limited by the availability of hydrogen stations. GM has decided to make a move towards building the network required to support the growth of fuel cell vehicle technology.

Hawaii will host a group of hydrogen fuel stations that will be supplied by The Gas Company, LLC - a provider of of natural gas, propane, and hydrogen. TGC plans to use their own separation process to pull hydrogen from their existing pipeline system. Hydrogen fuel would be ideal for Hawaii, a state that relies heavily on imported petroleum for transportation.  Although many factors will contribute to the price of the hydrogen, it could be competitive with gasoline.

In addition to providing an abundant transportation energy source for Hawaii, the collaboration between GM and The Gas Company will serve as a proving grounds for future hydrogen fueling networks. Fuel cell vehicle drivers on these islands won't need to travel farther than about 10 miles from any location to find a hydrogen station, making it an ideal landscape for using and testing the system.

A successful implementation of the hydrogen refueling infrastructure in Hawaii could boost interest in the technology and urge global energy companies to being investing in similar projects. With several major manufacturers, such as General Motors and Toyota, promising affordable fuel cell vehicles in the next decade, the demand for refueling stations could begin to grow quite quickly in the next few years.

[General Motors]