GM Looks to Hawaii for Hydrogen Infrastructure Pilot
Collaboration with The Gas Company Plans Stations on Oahu for Fuel Cells
Detroit/Honolulu, May 11 – Abundant hydrogen is available on the island of Oahu to power a ramp up of fuel cell vehicles through a General Motors collaboration with The Gas Company (TGC), Hawaii’s major gas energy provider, the two companies announced Tuesday.
TGC produces hydrogen along with synthetic natural gas and delivers it in its utility gas stream, with more than 5 percent hydrogen content today. Through a proprietary separation process, TGC plans to tap into its 1,000-mile utility pipeline system at key locations and separate the hydrogen for use by local fueling stations for fuel cell vehicles.
“This is the type of enabler that a hydrogen transportation infrastructure needs because it addresses both the source of the hydrogen and a feasible way to deliver it for fuel cell vehicle use,” said Charles Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Activities. “The Hawaii infrastructure could eventually support tens of thousands of fuel cell vehicles.
“Hawaii is uniquely positioned and motivated to make hydrogen-powered fuel cell transportation a reality because it depends on imported petroleum for 90 percent of its energy,” he said.
The state is committed to reducing petroleum use by 70 percent through a combination of renewable energy resources, conservation and efficiency. The use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel could be a key contributor.
“We have been delivering as much as 12 percent hydrogen made from renewable sources to our gas customers over the last two to three years and expect we can deliver even greater quantities of hydrogen as demand increases,” said Jeffrey Kissel, president and CEO of TGC. “By delivering hydrogen through our existing infrastructure as vehicle fuel wherever we have gas, The Gas Company expands its key role of supporting Hawaii’s clean energy future.”
Depending how the pricing for the hydrogen is set, it could be available at the equivalent price of gasoline or less.
GM, which has invested more than $1.5 billion in fuel cell transportation in the last 15 years, is developing a production-intent fuel cell system that could be ready for commercialization in 2015. Current Chevrolet Fuel Cell vehicles are part of Project Driveway, the world’s largest demonstration of fuel cell vehicles, which has amassed nearly 1.4 million miles of real-world driving by thousands of people since 2007.
U.S. Senator Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, said he supports the pilot project.
“My small role was one of introduction between these two companies, not that many months ago, which resulted in this business announcement today,” Inouye said. “It is an important step forward in the establishment of a hydrogen transportation infrastructure upon which new fleets, both military and civilian, can be tested and utilized. I am committed to support the resourcing of this endeavor.
“Every step to reduce our dependency on foreign oil is a move forward,” he said.
The GM-TGC collaboration is the leading edge of a broad consortium of federal and state, non-profit and education organizations that is forming to develop a Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative as part of an integrated energy solution for Hawaii’s future.
About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 217,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.
About The Gas Company: The Gas Company LLC has been in business since 1904 and has a workforce of 300. It provides clean, reliable and energy-efficient gas to residential, business and government customers throughout the state of Hawaii — Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai. TGC manufactures synthetic natural gas (SNG) and hydrogen at its high-capacity plant located on Oahu for delivery through a 1,000-mile pipeline network, and supplies propane gas (LPG) statewide. More information on TGC is available at www.hawaiigas.com.
Fuel Cell Challenge 2010 -- An Innovation and Commercialization Competition
About the Challenge:
Columbia and South Carolina are emerging centers for investment in clean energy and clean technology. With concerns over energy security, climate change, and the next generation of economic development opportunities, clean technology investment has skyrocketed across the globe and is revolutionizing the
global energy economy.
In an effort to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies in South Carolina, the USC-Columbia Fuel Cell is launching the Fuel Cell Challenge. The challenge is an innovation-based competition focused on identifying and commercializing novel hydrogen, fuel cell, and clean technologies in the industry.
How It Works:
Teams from around the country are invited to compete by submitting innovative technologies and business plans for developing the next generation of products focused on hydrogen and fuel cell technology and its components. Teams can consist of start-up companies, collaborations, scientists, researchers, student teams, and any other group that is working on breakthrough technologies that have near term commercial viability.
In an effort to streamline the review and approval process, submissions will be based on a two phase process.
- Phase I: Submission by project teams of a 1-2 page abstract and a competition questionnaire to screen and shortlist potential projects.
- Phase II: Pending review and approval by the Fuel Cell Challenge review committee, project teams will be invited to submit a full proposal for review including a business plan, technology disclosure, and full application to the challenge.
- All phase I submissions must be received by email only by no later than 5:00pm on July 16th, 2010.
- All phase II submissions must be received by email or hard copy by 5:00pm on September 1, 2010.
- Submissions must include a corresponding business plan, a disclosure of intellectual property, and a financial disclosure (if applicable).
- All submissions must include location of all current operations and a letter of commitment to relocate to locations specified within the contest information.
The review committee for the Fuel Cell Challenge will represent a diverse group of leading industry partners covering the full range of clean technology activity from venture capitalists, scientists, technologists, to entrepreneurs and seasoned industry professionals. This review committee will make final recommendations on awards to be issued by the Fuel Cell Challenge program.
Awards will be granted for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place submissions. Winning proposals will receive the following cash and support resources upon qualifying for competition criteria.
Winning proposals will receive the following cash prizes in the form of non-return commercialization investments through the SCRA Industry Partners Fund and SC Launch, a program of the South Carolina Research Authority:
- $100K for 1st place (single award)
- $50K for 2nd place (multiple awards)
- $25K for 3rd place (multiple awards)
Note: Funding will be distributed in tranches, corresponding to successful completion of milestones in the company business plan and SC Launch performance tracking.
Award recipients will also receive the following additional (proposed) support resources:
- Consideration for acceptance into the SC Launch Program, with corresponding start-up support from the SC Launch Resource Network
- Business planning support from the USC-Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative
- Facilities relocation support to the USC-Columbia Technology Incubator, MTC Business Accelerator, the USC-SCRA Innovation Center, or Innovista IdeaLab
- Marketing and communications support in the form of a press release, regional/national recognition, and promotional support for one year
- Access to world class research support at the University of South Carolina’s NSF Center for Fuel Cells, the USC Future Fuels™ program, and the USC Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Center of Excellence.
Timeline (All dates are in 2010):
- May 1 Fuel Cell Challenge Competition Officially Opens
- May 4 Fuel Cell Challenge official project launch and media announcement at the NHA Hydrogen Conference & Expo 2010
- July 16 Round I Submissions deadline closes
- August 6 Round I Submissions reviewed and approved/denied for round II
- September 1 Deadline for Round II submissions closes
- September 17 Submission review period ends
- September 24 Recommendations for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finalists made for approval
- October 4 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finalists are notified
- October 18 2010 Award winners announced at the Fuel Cell Seminar & Expo in San Antonio, TX
- November 5 All company commitments, paperwork, and legal issues resolved and Fuel Cell Challenge 2010 officially ends
Businessman gives $1 Million to Science & Technology Students
ABOVE: Entrepreneur Tom Sullivan awards $100,000 to Matthew Lee, via the New Proton Energy Scholarship Program; Surprise Presentation Took Place at NHA Hydrogen Conference and Expo in Long Beach, Calif., May 2010.
Along with being a top finisher in the Physics and Chemistry Olympiads, Matthew has spent a summer volunteering at a local soup kitchen and a nursing home. Matthew lives in Pacolet, South Carolina and attends the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics
- - - - - - - Long Beach, Calif. (May 4, 2010) – Entrepreneur Tom Sullivan surprised everyone during the announcement of the winner of the Proton Energy Scholarship when he awarded all 10 finalists with a $100,000 four‐year undergraduate scholarship at the NHA Hydrogen Conference and Expo. The initial plan was to give the four‐year scholarship to one of the 10 finalists, but Sullivan decided all were worthy of the fullscholarship and made the presentation.
“All ten finalists are truly exceptional individuals and it was impossible to only give away one $100,000 scholarship, so we awarded all the students the grand prize,” said Sullivan, supporter and funder of the Proton Energy Scholarship. “Each and every student shows tremendous promise in fields of science and technology, and we are excited to help support the bright futures ahead of these talented individuals.”
Sponsored by global hydrogen leader Proton Energy Systems, which is owned by Sullivan, and administered by the Hydrogen Education Foundation (HEF), the Proton Energy Scholarship recognizes and awards high school seniors who demonstrate outstanding achievement, excellence and promise in the fields of science or technology, and who plan to pursue higher education in these areas.
"As a result of Tom's generous gift, the Foundation is proud to help these exceptional young people pursue their studies in science and technology," saidJeffrey Serfass, president of the HEF. "As industry makes investments in hydrogen technologies, we must also invest in our future leaders. This is the recipe for growth and continued success."
The Proton Energy Scholarship finalists were evaluated on academic performance, strength of application, commitment to further education in a science or technology related field, financial need and demonstrated leadership, work ethic and community involvement. The scholarship recipients are:
- Sahil Khetpal, Plano, Texas
- Ryan Gao, Falmouth, Maine
- Matthew Lee, Pacolet, S.C
- Andres Parrado, Stamford, Conn.
- Carolyn Bai, Old Saybrook, Conn.
- Jesse Castaneda, Morro Bay, Calif.
- William McNeary IV, Charleston, Mo.
- Philip Lubik, Harwinton, Conn.
- Alexandra Olivares, Dubuque, Iowa
- Jenny Lu, Southbury, Conn.
For more information about Proton Energy Systems and the Proton Energy Scholarship, please visit www.protonenergy.com or www.protonenergyscholarship.com.
About Tom Sullivan
Tom Sullivan is a successful entrepreneur who founded Lumber Liquidators, the largest retailer of hardwood floors, and SunHydro, the world's first chain of privately funded fueling stations that provide hydrogen to fuel cell cars. Sullivan also is the owner of Proton Energy Systems, the world’s leading supplier of on‐site hydrogen generators utilizing proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology.
About Proton Energy Systems
Proton Energy Systems designs and manufactures proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrochemical systems to make hydrogen from water in a zero pollution process producing safe, pure, reliable onsite hydrogen to meet today’s global hydrogen requirements. Proton Energy Systems has been developing and manufacturing world‐class electrolysis systems since 1996, with thousands of units deployed world‐wide, on every continent. With a reputation for building robust, reliable, and safe systems, federal, state, and commercial partners repeatedly seek the creative solutions that Proton Energy Systems has proven it is capable of delivering. For more information, visit www.ProtonEnergy.com.
About the Hydrogen Education Foundation (HEF)
HEF is the charitable, education‐focused arm of the National Hydrogen Association, the largest hydrogen trade association in the world. The HEF currently administers four hallmark programs: the H2 & You outreach program, the Hydrogen Student Design contest, the H‐Prize Competition and now the Proton Energy Scholarship Program. For more information, visit: www.HydrogenEducationFoundation.org.