Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

As the simplest and most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen can be used as a fuel for internal combustion engines (ICEs) or fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical process, and are generally twice as efficient as a combustion engine. Fuel cells produce zero emissions and have similar range and refuel times as gasoline powered vehicles provide today. Currently, fuel cell vehicles and the hydrogen infrastructure to fill them are in the final stages of development. It is expected that fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations will be publicly available in the near future. In Hawaii, public and private companies and organizations have partnered to facilitate the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations. The combination of access to a number of abundant renewable resources and limited driving distances make Hawaii an ideal location for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

For more information on hydrogen technologies, please visit http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/fuel_cell.html.

Local Publications

Analysis of Geothermally Produced Hydrogen on the Big Island of Hawaii: A Roadmap for the Way Forward (pdf file; 5 Megabytes; 97 pages) - by Sentech (2008).

Nuturing a Clean Energy Future in Hawaii: Assessing the Feasability of the Large-Scale Utilization of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in Hawaii - Report prepared for DBEDT in 2002 by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and Sentech (pdf file; 3,302 kb)

Local Projects

Servco Pacific has broken ground on the first publicly-available Hydrogen Refueling Station in Hawaii on August 2, 2017. The refueling station is expected to be completed in early 2018, when the company will begin to sell their hydrogen-fueled Toyota Mirai on the island. The station will also be available to any other hydrogen-fueled vehicles or busses. 

The Hawaii Center for Advanced Technologies runs numerous hydrogen demonstration projects, including fuel-cell hybrid step van, fuel-cell hybrid aircraft tow vehicle, and a fuel-cell powered light cart, among others. HCATT is a federally funded project administered by Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), a state agency connected to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT).

Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, an organized research unit of the School of Ocean Earth Science and Technology of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, performs research, conducts testing and evaluation, and manages public-private partnerships across a broad range of renewable technologies to reduce the State of Hawaii's dependence on fossil fuel. Some of those research projects involve fuel-cell and hydrogen technology.