A trade fair is usually conceived of as an exhibition of manageable size, where some experts present very special products which are then critically examined by a moderate number of visitors. The Intersolar isn’t like that.
It was full in Hannover, at least so full that almost all the halls on the exhibition grounds were occupied. Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG, put the number of exhibitors at 6,500 – just as high as in the comparable year 2017. At 215,000, the number of visitors was somewhat higher than in 2018, but significantly lower than two years ago.
The German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV) took a decisive step during this year’s general meeting on 14 May 2019 to be able to make a stronger commitment in the future to the development of a green energy industry based on hydrogen as an energy source.
It’s been a long time since things were moving forward at the pace they have been in recent months. And it has been just as long since the mood was that optimistic in the energy sector. Wherever you look, you feel as if a new chapter has begun. It certainly feels a lot different than past times of doom and gloom in the fuel cell and hydrogen industry.
In the fall of 2018, the German government announced it would provide about EUR 6.4 billion between 2018 and 2022 under its 7th Energy Research Program. This is around 45 percent more than what it allocated to the prior program from 2013 through 2017. The new budget reportedly includes funds for living laboratories and projects involving fuel cells, energy storage, hydrogen technologies and energy systems integration.
The idea of using hydrogen as energy storage entered the political mainstream a long time ago. The coalition agreement between the Christian and the Social Democrats in Germany includes several direct references to hydrogen and fuel cells, while a few other parties have made the technologies part of their platforms as well.
In many communities, electric buses have been the latest innovation to grab the attention of passengers and mayors alike. While passengers are just thrilled about the quiet and smooth ride, mass transit companies are looking for businesses that can deliver these types of vehicles, especially fuel cell ones, as quickly as possible. However, few options are for sale, despite a boost in demand.
Among all German states, Brandenburg has had the most trouble striking the right balance between its fossil and renewable sources of energy. Many jobs in the south of state depend on lignite mining, while large wind farms have been put up in the north and around Berlin. The state government, a coalition of The Left and the SPD, has been trying for years to find an equitable solution to its very own energy dilemma.
January saw the publication of the Fuel Cell Industry Review 2018, including market figures and analyses. The review was created by the team of E4tech, which has contacted fuel cell companies once a year since 2014 to provide an independent overview of the fuel cell market based on aggregated shipment numbers. Below are some excerpts from its report.
In 2018, fuel cell system sales continued to grow. In all, companies shipped 74,000 systems, around 4,000 more than in 2017.
The aim of the EU-funded HyLaw project is to promote the launch of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies by giving stakeholders a detailed overview of current regulations and showing political decision makers where the sector is faced with legal barriers to growth. Coordinated by Hydrogen Europe, it is the EU’s first project that focuses on regulatory issues concerning hydrogen production and sale.