Hanover trade show: the MobiliTec falters

Test drive with the Toyota Mirai in blazing sunshine.

Hanover is still the leading sector meeting place for the H2 and FC community. As in previous years, from 13th until 17th April 2015, almost 150 exhibitors presented themselves on the Group Exhibit Hydrogen + Fuel Cells + Batteries in hall 27. Apart from that, however, relatively little was on offer for interested visitors that was worthwhile. The topic of electrical mobility wasn’t as present as it was in previous years. This time, the four large shared stands for Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony and North Rhine Westphalia and of the German Solar Mobility Association took center stage at the MobiliTec – and, of course, the Ride & Drive Area, where it was possible to test drive both the Toyota Mirai as well as the VW US Passat HyMotion.

This year, the Hanover trade show site [Hannover Messe] has seen ten flagship trade shows that have attracted more than 220,000 visitors and over 6,500 exhibitors. In 2014 there were some 170,000 visitors at seven flagship trade shows (4,800 exhibitors). While there were some 154 exhibitors exhibiting on over 4.000 m² at the MobiliTec 2014, this year there were only some 120, most of whom were sub-exhibitors on the large shared stands.

The development of infrastructure is experiencing delays
During the press conference at the Group Exhibit for Tobias Renz, and which – now something of a tradition on the first day of the trade show – was also attended by Managing Director of NOW Dr. Klaus Bonhoff and Markus Bachmeier, who is responsible for hydrogen at Linde, the discussions once again concerned the continuation of the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). Dr. Bonhoff made the case for a new market launch program (see p. 10).

An additional topic was the development of the H2 infrastructure, which isn’t progressing as quickly as hoped for. It is currently conceivable that it won’t be possible to complete the 50 service stations by the end of 2015 that are currently planned because there have been several delays with the specification of the location and the obtaining of construction permits. Right now, 17 H2 stations are complete. Bachmeier explained nonetheless: “Most of them will be ready by the end of 2015.” Bonhoff specified: “There are funding applications and approvals for 50 service stations. The financing is available. If the last ones only go into operation in 2016, then so be it.” The official wording has been changed so that it is now as follows: “An initial strategic development stage will be realized over the remaining term of the NIP – until early 2016.” From the end of 2016 onwards, the company H2Mobility which was founded in March 2015 (which originated from the H2Mobility Initiative) will focus on the development of further hydrogen service stations (400 H2 stations by 2023, see. p. 37).

The fact that things aren’t progressing faster here is also due to the fact that the German auto manufacturers aren’t selling any fuel cell vehicles right now. In comparison with this, Andy Fuchs from Toyota reported that there were around 1,600 signed contracts in Japan in January 2015. The initial production was therefore increased from 700 to 2,000. Next year it is to be 3,000, and in 2020, 10,000 units.


H-Tec is divided in two
All in all, 145 exhibitors booked at Renz, of whom 14 alone were energy suppliers and manufacturers of heating systems at the IBZ stand, in addition to four auto manufacturers at the open-air site. As in 2014, GP Joule was represented with two stands in hall 27. At the main stand, things primarily focused on solar, wind and bioenergy and the electricity gap filling systems (“Stromlückenfüller), while at the subsidiary company H-Tec Education, the topic of “further education in the H2 and FC sector” took center stage. Accordingly, the structure of the company that was founded in 2009 has now changed: In recent months it has focused on two locations: Reußenköge in Schleswig-Holstein (headquarters) and Buttenwiesen in Bavaria. And since the entire system integration has been bundled in the south of Germany, that is where H-Tec Systems is now pushing ahead with the development of its electrolyzer. The initial development stage of its “electricity gap filling system” (4 x 5 kW) went into operation in Reußenköge a few days after the trade show (see p. 17).

H-Tec Education has now moved into new accommodation in Lübeck and has appointed a new Managing Director: After the departure of one of the company’s founders in the course of the restructuring, since the start of the year, the company’s 20 employees have been managed by the former Sales Director Ake Johnsen.

A choice between methanol and liquid gas
Dr. Peter Podesser, executive chairman of SFC, reported that there has been a clear decline in the fortunes of the camping market over the course of recent years. Rather than this sector or the telecommunications sector, increasing numbers of systems are now being sold in the area of specialist industrial applications. In particular, the independent supplying of energy to wind power systems which are currently under construction and the monitoring of oil pipelines are worthy of mentioning in this context. With this strategy, in which it isn’t explicitly fuel cells but electrical and complete solutions which are on offer, Podesser and his team of 200 employees, are hoping to achieve positive results.

The EFOY Pro 12000 Duo from SFC

The EFOY-Pro-12000-Duo-System, which was presented in Hanover, is also set to contribute to this. As can be seen in image 2, this is a 500 W direct methanol fuel cell, until now the most powerful offered by the company from Brunnthal, with a loading capacity of 12 kWh per day, and which is conceptualized for off-grid, industrial use under challenging environmental conditions. It is possible to combine up to five modules in a single switch cabinet (60 kWh per day). Podesser commented as follows: “Where other electricity generators such as solar modules or diesel generators hit their limits or are too expensive in terms of their operation or logistics, our fuel cells offer an attractively priced, reliable solution.”


FC systems in the trailer
At the same time as the Hanover trade show, on 15th April 2015 at the biggest trade show for the security industry in the USA, the ISC WEST, SFC presented the EFOY-ProTrailer series. This relates to a user-defined power supply system with fuel cells and solar modules which is installed to a trailer for straightforward transportation in compact form. This hybrid power solution is designed for security, surveillance and traffic management applications.

New Enerday presented a similar trailer as a trade show novelty in Hanover. In contrast to the methanol powered EFOY devices, their EN 3000 PT runs on liquid gas, generates 25 kWh per day and is able to supply electricity independently for up to 100 days. Two EN-5000-P fuel cell modules and four batteries, each with 165 Ah, are installed in the trailer. The fuel is supplied by four removable 11-kg gas bottles and a 70-kg gas tank. A photovoltaic system (max. 325 W) is also installed on the roof of the trailer. The power supply is provided by three conventional 220 V power sockets.

This year, Athens-based company Tropical S.A., which had previously only missed one show since 2004, did not attend the Group Exhibit. Upon inquiry, the company’s Managing Director, George Kaplanis, told HZwei that he would liked to have attended the Hanover trade show but wasn’t able to, as the Greek banks are creating problems for his company because of a lack of cash. Kaplanis explained: “They didn’t give us the money that we requested from them for the trade show on time.”

Award as Powerwoman 2015
The other trade show halls featured presentations by small, young companies, such as Membrasenz, a spin-off from the Professorship for Analytical Chemistry at the Ruhr University Bochum. RUB researcher Dr. Jelena Stojadinovic presented membranes for alkaline water electrolysis. Together with her team, she had previously won the KUER-Businessplan Competition held by the Environmental Ministry of North Rhine Westphalia. Her Group Leader, Dr. Fabio La Mantia explained: “We transfered results from battery research to the area of water electrolysis.” This resulted in a membrane from a new composite material which enables both a good separation of hydrogen and oxygen as well as a high degree of ionic conductivity. La Mantia explained that the new gas separators exceed both the previously used but health-damaging asbestos as well as other products in terms of ionic conductivity, gas density, chemical, mechanical and thermal resistance as well as cost efficiency. At the specialist WoMenPower conference in Hanover on 17th April 2015, Dr. Jelena Stojadinovic was also named Engineer Powerwoman 2015 by the Deusche Messe, a prize which is endowed with 5,000 Euros especially for the MINT sector.

NOVUM engineerING was represented at the shared futureSAX stand of the federal state of Saxony in hall 2 (research and development). The Dresden-based services provider develops high performance electronics for high temperature fuel cells and also works together with Hexis and SOLIDpower, for instance. Mandy Schipke, the young Managing Director of the company that was established in 2014, explained: “The NOVUM Power Converter is as big as a heavy book, protects the lifespan of the SOFCs, and with a basic output range of 1,25 kW, is ideal for installation in cogeneration systems.”

Author: Sven Geitmann

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