Inside island’s hydrogen future: Researchers at Rogers’ Puu Waawaa ranch explore top energy solutions

  • Paul Ponthieux, director and chief technology officer for Blue Planet Research, shows off the 1 megawatt hydrogen cell storage system Monday on the Puu Waawaa energy ranch. (Photos by Nancy Cook Lauer/West Hawaii Today)

  • Soon, 300 kilowatt-hours of PV solar panels will dot the green hillside behind the community water system on the Puu Waawaa energy ranch. (Nancy Cook Lauer/West Hawaii Today)

  • Paul Ponthieux, director and chief technology officer for Blue Planet Research, talks Monday about a hydrogen fueling station on the Puu Waawaa energy ranch.

  • Heather Kimball, on a tour of the Puu Waawaa energy ranch, checks out a hydrogen-fired grill. (Nancy Cook Lauer/West Hawaii Today)
  • Mitch Ewan, hydrogen systems program manager for the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, discusses the potential for hydrogen-fueled vehicles. (Nancy Cook Lauer/West Hawaii Today)
  • Seven types of solar panels are tested at the Puu Waawaa energy ranch.

  • The solar-hydrolysis-storage process is automated at the Puu Waawaa energy ranch. (Nancy Cook Lauer/West Hawaii Today)

PUU WAAWAA — Tucked among the old-time paniolo ranches in North Kona is a cutting-edge ranch of a different kind.