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Hawaii Helping Keep U.S. in Worldwide Fuel Cell Race

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   June 14th, 2011 · No Disqus Comments · Maui Business

By Sonia Isotov

Hawaii was selected as one of several “Up and Coming” states to watch when it comes to fuel cell growth in United States, according to a new report released by Fuel Cells 2000, entitled “State of the States: Fuel Cells in America.

The report provides comprehensive state by state coverage of policies, deployments, installations and funding occurring in the past year. In its 2010 report, “State of the States: Fuel Cells in America,” Fuel Cells 2000 singled out California, Connecticut, New York, Ohio and South Carolina as leaders in moving the industry forward in the U.S.

These “Top 5” states continue their reign in 2011, but several other states are hot on their heels. Fuel Cells 2000 selected Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, and Texas as “Up and Coming” states to watch.

The report lists the following policies, projects, and installations already in place in Hawaii:

  • Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative (H2I): Ten companies, agencies and universities have joined an initiative between The Gas Company (TGC), and General Motors to make hydrogen-powered vehicles and a fueling infrastructure a reality in Hawaii by 2015.
  • Alternative Fuel Vehicle Requirements for the State Fleet: Beginning in 2010, all state and county entities, when purchasing new vehicles, are to seek vehicles with reduced dependence on petroleum-based fuels that meet the needs of the agency.
  • Net Metering: In 2010, Hawaii’s Public Utilities commission approved a feed-in tariff for the Hawaiian Electric Companies for renewable energy generators up to 500 kW.
  • GM Fuel Cell Vehicle: The U.S. Navy took delivery of the first Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative fuel cell vehicle, a General Motors fuel cell Equinox, in December 2010.
  • Hickam Air Force Base: With support from the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies and the Air Force Advanced Power Technology Office, Hickam Air Force Base (AFB) has been operating a fuel cell hybrid electric shuttle bus since 2004.
  • Hydrogen buses and hydrogen fueling infrastructure, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP): HVNP plans to put two hydrogen shuttle buses in operation in 2011, using hydrogen as a range extender for electric motors.
  • Hydrogen Stations: General Motors, in collaboration with TGC, Hawaii’s major gas energy provider, plans to open 20-25 hydrogen fueling stations in Hawaii.
  • The Gas Company (TGC): Hawaii’s main gas energy provider. Working with General Motors and other partners on hydrogen fueling stations and is the first gas utility in the nation to provide hydrogen commercially for transportation.
  • Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), University of Hawaii at Manoa: runs several fuel cell research and development programs, including fuel cell testing, fuel cell systems and fabrication

“Supportive state policies are helping foster fuel cell installations, company relocations and growth to help keep the U.S. at the forefront of fuel cell commercialization, despite competition from countries such as Japan, Korea, and Germany,” said Jennifer Gangi, program director for Fuel Cells 2000 and one of the authors of the report, in a written statement by Fuel Cells 2000. “Continued federal and state support is crucial to moving the emerging fuel cell industry into full-fledged commercialization for a wide variety of applications and power needs.”

“State of the States: Fuel Cells in America 2011” features a foreword by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, details on all the fuel cell activity in the Top 5, the Up and Coming states, and the rest of the U.S. in each state listing, as well as more fuel cell resources in the Appendices. Download the report for free at: http://www.fuelcells.org/statereport.html.

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