As hydrogen energy continues to establish itself as a major focus for the auto industry, gas utilities companies are taking a new approach to their business operations. With most major automakers developing hydrogen-powered vehicles, gas companies have highlighted the severe lack of an adequate fuel infrastructure. Instead of citing this fact as a detractor to hydrogen fuel, companies are beginning to partner with automakers to help build an infrastructure. Such is the case with Hawaii’s The Gas Company and gas suppliers in Japan.
In Hawaii, The Gas Company has joined the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative and has begun working with General Motors to establish several hydrogen fueling stations throughout the state. The Gas Company currently has an extensive natural gas production system which produces a significant amount of hydrogen as a byproduct of synthetic natural gas generation. The company will be supplying General Motors with this excess hydrogen gas to aid in the establishment of an infrastructure. By 2030, hydrogen may account for 90% of the state’s power, thanks to this partnership.
Ten gas supply companies in Japan have also announced plans to work with automakers Nissan, Toyota and Honda in their efforts to build an energy infrastructure in the country. These companies will draw upon the Ene-Farm concept, which is an extensive network of hydrogen fuel cells in Japan that is used to power homes. The Ene-Farm became rampantly famous in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, when several power plants needed to be shut down and much of the nation was without power. The farm was able to handle the energy demands for the majority of the crisis without any problems.