First hydrogen and fuel cell show in Las Vegas

ForumThe leap over the big pond has been made. Tobias Renz Fair and Deutsche Messe organized the first Hydrogen + Fuel Cells North America, which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 10 through 13, 2017. The hydrogen and fuel cell trade show ran alongside Solar Power International and Energy Storage International in one large hall at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. It attracted many interested visitors.

Tobias Renz, who also organizes the shared exhibition space for hydrogen and fuel cells every year during Hannover Messe, was thrilled even before the opening with the exhibitors he was able to muster. When they arrived and set up the trade show, the first of its kind in North America, he was pleased to find that everything was going as planned.

A total of 30 exhibitors, some coming from Europe and some from within North America, presented their products in the 1,000-square-meter, or nearly 11,000-square-foot, space in the dry, desert-like climate of Nevada. Among them were such prominent companies as Air Liquide, Ballard, Hydrogenics, ITM Power, Nel Hydrogen and Proton OnSite. Also supporting the function were the California Fuel Cell Partnership, California Hydrogen Business Council and Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association.

Arno A. Evers, who established the booth for hydrogen and fuel cells in Hanover in 1995, personally and proudly attended the event and was impressed with the way his vision from 2000 had been brought to life.

Great potential

Similar to Hannover Messe, the trade show was designed to include a forum space where exhibitors could display their products or prototypes (see fig. 1). During presentations, this area was usually well filled, since there were many Solar Power International attendees taking the opportunity to learn about the practical applications of hydrogen and fuel cells.

The individual booths prepared for the event were fairly typical from the point of view of the locals but plainer than one is used to in Germany. This was Tobias Renz’s intention, as he didn’t want a replica of the shared space in Hanover but a hydrogen and fuel cell trade show of its own, as is the American way. Benjamin Low, Deutsche Messe’s manager of the Energy Show in Hanover, who was also present, has been supporting Renz in his North America venture and is already contemplating bringing the show to China.

According to Stephen Miner, CEO of Solar Energy Trade Shows, organizer of Solar Power International, “This year’s event was a true testament to the growth and strength of this industry. A record crowd of 20,000 attendees saw an even bigger and better show that included Energy Storage International, Hydrogen + Fuel Cells North America and the Smart Energy Microgrid Marketplace – a complete integration of these renewable technologies all in one place. We’re excited to continue the expansion and integration of these components in Anaheim for Solar Power International and Energy Storage International 2018.”

All the exhibitors and visitors were impressed by the first Hydrogen + Fuel Cells North America. Even though the booths, set up at the edge of the spacious convention center, weren’t always crowded, their messages reached plenty. As a result, several companies declared on the spot that they wanted to be there for the next show.

In total, 700 exhibitors showed their products at the event in Las Vegas. At Energy Storage International alone, 160 organizations were represented. In 2018, the Solar Power International, Energy Storage International and Hydrogen + Fuel Cells North America event will be held Sept. 24 through 27 in Anaheim, California.

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