Letters to the editor: 07-02-19

H2 fuel no bang for buck

There was an interesting article in your June 30 paper about hydrogen (H2) fuel: “Inside Island’s Hydrogen Future.” Unfortunately, producing H2 to fuel vehicles is inefficient and expensive compared to battery electric vehicles (EV). To produce 1 kilogram (kg) of H2 by electrolysis and compress it to 10,000 psi for the vehicle storage tank requires about 65 kilowatt-hours (kw-hrs) of electricity.


A Honda Clarity is rated to travel 70 miles on that amount of fuel. Instead of making H2, put that electricity in my electric car and I can travel at least 200 miles, about three times farther.

Regarding cost, that 1 kg of H2 costs $17 in California. You can’t buy it here, but it won’t be less in Hawaii. This works out to $0.24 per mile. I can charge my EV with that 65 kw-hrs, costing $15 and only $0.075/mile, 69% less (using HELCO’s special rate for EVs after 10 p.m.) By the way, a gasoline car with $3.75/gallon and 25 mpg costs $0.15/mile.

The only advantage to H2 cars is quick refueling, if you can find a H2 station. I can charge my EV at my home, at Kona’s and Hilo’s Target (two hours for free), and some other places.

I am an environmental engineer retired from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, where as a program supervisor in the Technology Advancement Office we promoted new cleaner technologies. I’ve owned three EVs and my house’s solar panels produce more energy than my car uses.

Martin Kay


Don’t miss opportunity for real change

Change is long overdue. The proposed charter amendments are a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the people of West Hawaii to reset the powerful economic and political control centered in Hilo, which operates unfairly at the expense of West Hawaii. It’s time for visionary charter amendments to be presented to the people in 2020 for change in spite of the fact that the Mayor’s Office in Hilo has stacked the Charter Commission with six of the 11 commissioners from Hilo in an attempt to control the issues for his own purposes.

Our West Hawaii representatives in the County Council have an opportunity on behalf of the voters to address important amendments on issues important to West Hawaii. The people will appreciate a visionary efforts to establish charter amendments regarding:

• Better water security for West Hawaii;

• Improved skills in the West Hawaii managing directorship, beyond political, as well as appropriate labor and financial resource allocations to the west side;

• The serious need for improved understandable financial transparency and accountability for the significant tax dollars we send to Hilo;

• Alternatives to the police chief’s disregard of the County Charter, the Constitution and his lack of willing accountability to the judicial system. This at a time of obvious increasing homicides and crime under his watch more than ever before, and this is an upward growing trend.

There’s another crucial need, critical for the young and working people here in West Hawaii. We need a charter amendment to mandate rezoning to create land inventory for more affordable-type dwellings to allow ownership of creative duplexes, apartments of various sizes, tiny houses, modular homes and the like.

Without an adequate supply of building lot inventory zoned in this way many of our people are left out as housing prices rise. An increase in supply will bring affordable home prices down. We need to also proactively engage as potential partners; OHA, Hawaiian Home Lands, the estates and the State of Hawaii, who are legacy land owners with obligations to our people, much could be possible. It starts with a rezoning mandate for the people, not for and by the bureaucrats and civil servants.

As for a creative duplex, consider a two-story home, 3/2, up , 3/2 down, with a carport on either end. A typical local family can’t afford to buy a whole home these days but often could afford a half a house or something smaller. We need to stop bemoaning the issue and do what’s necessary to seriously and smartly address the problem in a can-do way.

It’s about time for us all to take on an attitude of how can we, rather than be satisfied with the easy answer, why we can’t.


Greg Gerard

Captain Cook