Work starts on S.C. hydrogen fuel station

Work formally began this week on in Columbia, S.C., on a hydrogen refueling station that will be the only publicly accessible one in the Southeast outside Florida.

When it opens in February, the station will fuel a bus that will travel around the University of South Carolina campus and on several city transit routes, said Russ Keller of the South Carolina Research Authority, the project manager.

The bus from the Federal Transit Administration will remain in Columbia for a year. Officials hope the station will next fuel shuttles used at Midlands military bases and forklifts used by area companies.

Hydrogen fuel is supposed to be less environmentally harmful than fossil fuels and would lessen dependence on oil, proponents say. But the technology is years away from common use, and hydrogen fuel costs about $5-$10 a gallon, said Keller, the authority’s senior director for alternative energy.

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