A Central Jersey man is the first person in North America to completely power his home, car and lawnmower using nothing but the power of the sun and hydrogen gas.

“Hydrogen is 80% of all matter in the universe,” said Michael Strizki, of Hopewell Township, who heads the Hydrogen House Project.

He said for the past 16 years he’s been off the normal electric grid, using solar when it’s sunny and when it not, using the power he collects with his electrolyzer.

“The electrolyzer splits water into its base elements: hydrogen and oxygen," he explained.

He said this device then collects the hydrogen in the form of a gas, which is stored in propane tanks without compression.

The only byproduct of this process is pure water.

“This is going to be the next big thing that’s coming up, especially with all the stuff about global warming, all the negative impacts from burning fossil fuels," he said. "This cures the disease.”

He said the process of converting water to hydrogen is really the ultimate battery — one that doesn't produce toxic waste for landfills.

“Cooking gas, heating gas and fuel for the vehicle is all done with energy I make three months of the year. Essentially, I can bottle sunshine.”

Strizki said the units cost between $40,000 and $150,000, but with a variety of energy tax incentives and rebates, “typically the payback on this thing is five to seven years.”

He said he also has a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle he bought in California and a portable hydrogen refueling station he designed.

He noted with one fill-up he can travel 313 miles and the only byproduct is 12 gallons of pure water per trip.

“A couple of years ago I drove the car from Malibu to Las Vegas for Solar Power International and I stopped in Death Valley and I drank the water from the tailpipe," he said.

California already has 5,000 hydrogen fueled cars on the road, with 43 hydrogen refueling stations scattered around the state. He said two stations are being planned in New Jersey.

Several companies, including Toyota and Amazon, are developing ways to utilize hydrogen fuel cells and building hydrogen-powered drones, trucks, planes and ships.

“We’re just in the beginning of the learning curve and costs are going to go down and techniques in technology take place and mass production occurs," he predicts. “The best thing to do is to start voting with your checkbook. If you want to see change, vote with your checkbook and all of industry will follow because they go where the money is.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com