Interview with NOW chief executive Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff
As of May 15, 2020, the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) has a new chief executive. Formerly Klaus Bonhoff, who has moved to the German transportation ministry, his successor is Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff. Now is the time to take stock and ask what the future holds.
Mathias Bode, FuelCon and Sensotech’s longtime chief executive, has decided to change careers. An automation technician by trade, he is now working for Aquin & Cie., a privately owned consultancy that specializes in mergers and acquisitions, mainly in the industrial automation, automotive testing and electric vehicle markets.
Bode founded Sensotech in 1990 and FuelCon in 2001, developing the latter into a major supplier of fuel cell and battery test equipment. He also supported FuelCon’s acquisition by the Japanese Horiba Group in 2018. He told H2-international that “Horiba asked me to stay with the company. But after 30 years in the market, I wanted to try out something new. Day-to-day business is now in the hands of Horiba Europe’s Markus Bode [no relation].”
ITM Power is growing. In mid-May, the company introduced its subsidiary, ITM Motive, which will build and operate hydrogen gas stations in the UK. The role of chief executive went to Duncan Yellen, 54, a physicist and materials researcher by trade and former project development manager for Storengy, an Engie subsidiary. At present, ITM Motive runs eight public hydrogen fueling stations, a number expected to grow to 11 by the end of this year. All stations are equipped with ITM Power electrolyzers. Compressors are provided by Linde, a major shareholder and joint-venture partner.
A champion of the hydrogen industry, Heinrich Klingenberg’s defining influence extends from northern Germany throughout Europe. In early July, the hySolutions chief executive embarked on his well-deserved retirement.
Klingenberg was instrumental in setting up hySolutions in 2005. As CEO and spokesperson, he doubly served the company throughout his entire term of office (see interview in H2-international, April 2019).
On February 12, Andreas Pichler became the new chief executive of the SOLIDpower Group, replacing Alberto Ravagni, who stepped down from his role as CEO of the fuel cell heater maker at his own request. Ravagni had worked for the Italian-based business since its founding in 2007. Pichler is expected to turn SOLIDpower into a globally leading manufacturer of solid oxide fuel cells.
In early December 2016, Energy Saxony elected a new board during its general assembly meeting. The state energy technology association is now headed by Mandy Schipke, CEO of Novum engineering, and Frank Arnold, manager at Energie Sachsen Ost and Stadtwerke Dresden. The other newly elected members to the board were Dietmar Lauter, WISAG, Mareike Wolter, IKTS, and Thilo Bocklisch, professor at TU Dresden.
Roland Käppner‘s journey continues: After he had worked for Siemens for many years, he became CEO of McPhy Energy Germany. In August 2015, he then left for GKN Sinter Metals (see Roland Käppner Leaves for GKN). On July 1, 2016, he changed jobs and took on the position of head of business development and sales at the industrial division of thyssenkrupp.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was as eloquent as ever when he raised the targets for the company’s electric car models: Instead of producing 500,000 electric cars (total figure, all models – i.e., Model S, Model X and Model 3) in 2020, the company should already achieve that number in 2018 and increase it to one million in 2020. One can question whether these targets will become reality, as they require even more large infusions of cash, making additional capital increases inevitable. And this although Tesla has just recently sought more money