It's not exactly easy to ship things to Hawaii, considering that giant ocean. That's why The Aloha State is getting ready to produce its own hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles.
Hawaii broke ground last week on its first public hydrogen refilling station. Located at Servco Pacific's corporate offices in Mapunapuna, Oahu, the station will be able to supply hydrogen to five vehicles each day. The quantity is so low because, given the annoyances of cross-ocean shipping, all the station's hydrogen will be produced on-site through electrolysis.
Once the station is capable of filling up hydrogen cars, the island will begin offeringleases, making Hawaii the second state in the US to offer Toyota's hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, which converts hydrogen to electricity, leaving potable water as its only byproduct. It should be noted that Servco Pacific operates four Toyota dealerships in Hawaii, along with two Lexus dealerships.
Electrolysis creates hydrogen by passing an electrical current through water, which splits the water into its basic elements, hydrogen and oxygen. The electricity can come from anywhere, including renewable energy, which is great for Hawaii, where there's so much sunshine that solar energy is easy to harness. The hydrogen is then compressed and stored in tanks, where it's funneled into cars much like gasoline, with the whole process taking about the same time.
Hydrogen still has not caught on as a fuel in the US, due largely to the lack of costly infrastructure. That said, there are three hydrogen vehicles currently on offer in the US -- the, the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell and the . All three are only available via leasing.
(Hat tip to Green Car Reports!)