DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The first hydrogen production and refueling station in Hawaii and the Air Force was unveiled yesterday at Hickam Air Force Base. Matthew Morse held up a hose that transfers the hydrogen, under 5,000 psi of pressure, from the storage tanks to a fuel-cell electric bus. CLICK FOR LARGE
Hydrogen vehicle-fuel station unveiled
The first hydrogen fueling station for fuel-cell vehicles in Hawaii and the Air Force was unveiled yesterday at Hickam Air Force Base.
The $1.5 million hydrogen fueling station is part of an alternative-fuel-vehicle development program that was launched here five years ago. Tom Quinn, director of the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies, said $5 million already has been spent on the state's partnership with the Air Force. The five year-project has been managed by the center, a division of the state High Technology Development Corp.
Two years ago, the state and the Air Force unveiled Hawaii's first fuel-cell vehicle -- a 30-foot bus powered by batteries and a hydrogen fuel cell. The hybrid bus was developed by the Air Force, Enova Systems, Hydrogenics and the High Technology Development Corp.
The fuel cell is a chemical device in which hydrogen and oxygen are mixed to generate electricity, which powers the vehicle and recharges the backup battery.
Gov. Linda Lingle, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and other dignitaries attending the dedication of the hydrogen generation and dispensing station rode the bus to the refueling pumps at yesterday's ceremonies.
Col. John Torres, commander of Hickam's 15th Airlift Wing, said two additional fuel-cell-powered vehicles -- a step van and a tractor used by the Hawaii Air National Guard to tow F-15 Eagle jet fighters -- also have been added to Hickam's motor pool.
Lingle said Hawaii is "an ideal living laboratory" to test hydrogen technologies, since the state is 77 percent dependent on oil.
The governor said the need to break the state's dependence on oil is no longer a partisan issue.
The Air Force said other vehicle demonstration projections planned for Hickam include a step van powered by lithium-ion battery, hybrid electric step van, a hybrid electric dump truck and fuel-cell-powered flightline support vehicles and equipment.
The Air Force credits U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye for his support in establishing alternative-energy projects at Hickam and other bases.