Hanover Trade Show: Big H2 Industry Investments

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Maroš Šefčovič, EU Commission Vice-President (left)

Tobias Renz was able to celebrate a bit of a record this year: With overall 160 exhibitors from 25 countries, there have never been so many booths on the joint space of Hydrogen + Fuel Cells + Batteries organized by him. One of the reasons for this success may have been the many participants from the US, which alone had sent 21 industry representatives to the German trade show. America was this year’s partner country of the world’s biggest industrial exhibition. It should come as no surprise then that the partner choice prompted numerous complications on the trade show premises during the morning of the first day, as security was stepped up when President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel began the traditional opening tour around the trade show.

This year, the mood in Energy Hall 27 was neutral or optimistic, proving to be much better than it had been throughout the last years, in which exhibitors and attendees wavered between resignation and impatience. For example, the fuel cell suppliers sounded quite positive, having manufactured and shipped a pretty high number of units in some market segments. Companies such as borit Leichtbau-Technik reported that their production capacity of 100,000 bipolar plates was currently exhausted. But it remains to be seen for what exactly all of these plates are going to be used. Even with the additional info of around 400 pieces being required per stack, the question remains which business will need all of these stacks. The only thing certain up to now is that the automotive industry is the company’s main customer and requires numerous plates for the many tests that are being carried out.

Hydrogenics

Overall, the Hanover trade show boasted 5,200 exhibitors from 75 countries. Together, they used five percent more space than in 2014.

DOE promoting fuel cell technology since 1970

To recognize the efforts made by this year’s partner country, Tobias Renz also invited a US guest to join the podium discussion during the Public Forum…

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In contrast, micro-CHP plants with fuel cells had not been a key topic overseas, although Japan had already seen thousands of installations (see Germany Prepares for Technology Rollout Program). California had certainly been the state where the biggest efforts had been made to promote the fuel cell sector, Satyapal continued, but added that Hawaii likewise had invested a lot of time in advancing the technology.

NEL invests in H2 Logic

Norway was another heavily represented nation, with overall eight organizations at Renz’s joint space. Again among the Norwegian exhibitors was NEL Hydrogen, which had acquired the Danish supplier of hydrogen filling stations, H2 Logic, for …

RGH2 cooperates with TU Graz

An interesting new market player, which used the trade show to make its case to the public for the first time, was Rouge H2 Engineering (RGH2). The company based in Graz, Austria, specializes in energy storage. It intends to install steam reformers directly at refueling stations to create hydrogen for biogas onsite, thereby eliminating the complicated H2 transport. RGH2 relies on the expertise of professor Viktor Hacker, head of the Fuel Cell Group at the Technical University of Graz, and the knowledge of AVL. The special feature of the company’s reformer is the combination of all important components (H2 generation, storage and release) inside one unit, making it possible to use gas from the most different sources when creating hydrogen. The hydrogen will then be stored in a metal-rich “contact mass” and released after being heated up again. The result is H2 gas at comparably high pressure of between 40 and 100 bar.

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Although Obama did not find his way into hall 27, the French economic minister, Emmanuel Macron, showed up

Von Hofer also told H2-international that it was a conscious choice to select the Hanover trade show, and particularly Tobias Renz‘s joint space, to be the platform and the first event to showcase the business’s new technology. After comparing this trade show with numerous others, he was convinced that the Hanover one was where he would find his target audience. To him, the Hanover trade show was the “event most suited to our needs.” And he actually seemed very satisfied – both with his booth and with the amount of interest from attendees (“warm welcome, everything’s just as it should be”).

De Nora also chose the Hanover trade show to present his company’s latest generation of gas diffusion electrodes (GDE). Based on a license agreement, the Italian business is picking up where …

AVL and Greenlight join forces

AVL List and Greenlight Innovation used their time during the trade show to announce that they were planning to develop a joint testing platform for fuel cell engines (cars & utility vehicles). The Austrian and the Canadian company signed a …

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Cross-section of a composite high-pressure tank

High-pressure storage market changes

News have also been coming in from the high-pressure storage industry: After economic difficulties prompted a takeover of the German manufacturer of composite containers, Dynetek, by the UK’s Luxfer, Californian competitor Quantum filed for Chapter 11 on March 23, 2016, and has since been looking for an investor. xperion Energy & Environment seems to have had better luck, judging by the fact that it was the first time the company from Kassel, Germany, exhibited in Hanover. The 150-staff business belongs to the Avanco Group and specializes in natural gas and hydrogen, specifically in composite Type 4 high-pressure tanks.

Interest in MobiliTec continues to dwindle

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