Attendees from Europe, Asia and even North America had a long way to travel to this year’s World Hydrogen Energy Conference. In the end, however, more than 550 came to the event, which took place June 17 to 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They were rewarded with a lot of interesting material. What caught the imagination of many was the story of natural hydrogen, about which geologist Alain Prinzhofer reported that it came out of the ground in several places around the world.
The WHEC 2018 kicked off with a speech by its chairman, Professor Paulo Emílio Valadão de Miranda, the head of the Hydrogen Laboratory at the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and president of the Brazilian hydrogen association ABH2. The subsequent video message from the president of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy and initiator of the WHEC, T. Nejat Veziroğlu, marked a highlight of the event schedule. Being 93 years of age, he had been unable to participate in the conference due to health reasons but wished everyone his best and, in a voice imbued with the unrelenting spirit he had become known for, called on the hydrogen community to “fight the global problem!”
While talking about the state of the market, he mentioned with pride that early last year, 13 globally operating corporations had joined forces to tackle the world’s environmental problems and, instead of Climate Council or Green Council, they had named their initiative Hydrogen Council (see H2-international, May 2017). He told the audience not to be discouraged by a possibly long road ahead, exclaiming, “Your dreams will come true. Go full steam ahead into a hydrogen society!”
While he could only attend digitally, his wife Ayfer Veziroğlu, the executive vice president of the international hydrogen association over which he presides, was among the guest speakers at the WHEC. She recounted the beginnings of the hydrogen community and the first-ever WHEC in Miami Beach, over 40 years ago. Much had been accomplished since then, she said, before announcing that cell phone giants AT&T and Verizon would, as early as this year, offer a fuel cell-powered smartphone on the market. Named RED Hydrogen One, the limited-edition model will reportedly carry a price tag of USD 1,595.
Danny Epp, a fuel cell pioneer and longtime employee of Ballard, took attendees on another trip down memory lane, into the 1980s. He, too, said that a lot had been achieved, especially when it came to platinum amounts in fuel cell production and the power density of stacks. Platinum content had shrunk by a factor of 50 in 30 years, while power density had risen by a factor of 10 during the same period.
read more: H2-international October 2018