By Kathryn Mykleseth

Servco Pacific Inc. officials and Gov. David Ige broke ground Wednesday on the first publicly accessible hydrogen fueling station on Oahu.

The station, located at Servco's corporate offices in Mapunapuna, is set to be operational early next year. The station's hydrogen will be produced on-site by electrolyzing water -- passing an electrical current through water to cause it to split into hydrogen and oxygen.

At the event, Ige said the station will help advance Hawaii's clean energy goals by enabling the use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the state.

"I really do see today's event as the beginning of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles here in Hawaii," Ige said.

The Servco station will be able to produce enough hydrogen to supply five full vehicle fill-ups per day.

While hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are emission-free, similar to electric vehicles, the vehicles require a shorter time at the pump. It takes five minutes to fill a hydrogen fuel cell car, compared with up to eight hours to recharge some electric vehicles.

Mark Fukunaga, chairman and CEO of Servco Pacific, said the dealer will begin sales of Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Toyota Mirai, soon after the fueling station is in operation.

Hawaii will be the second state in the nation to receive the Mirai. California, with 34 hydrogen fueling stations, was the first.

(c)2017 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser