Day 2 – Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit
It appears that the reason it was somewhat slow yesterday is that
everyone seems to have planned to come today. First thing this
morning saw a large number of people arrive at Hall 13 to the point
where on some stands people were queuing to speak to the companies.
This morning I was able to flash my Fuel Cell Today ID and get
to speak to a number of the well known companies such as Ballard,
Hydrogenics, Proton Motor and Nedstack.
Proton Motor were the first company to achieve TUV SUD recognition
in late 2008 for one of its PEM fuel cell modules. Now the company
has developed into having three core markets, ships, small stationary
and speciality vehicles such as buses. Last year the company made
a real splash by being the fuel cell developer on the AlsterWasser
fuel cell tourist ship in Hamburg. Not only has this ship been
working well it has provided a real proof that the technology works.
One of the issues in this market is the fragmentation of the adopters.
Unlike in the telecommunication industry, for example, where the
number of telecomm companies is somewhat limited the shipping industry
for markets such as tourist vessels, tugs, ferries etc is very
fragmented with many adopters linked directly to shipyards. Proton
are now working hard educating the shipyards that the technology
is ready for adoption in back to base applications and are expecting
a new order in the short term.
Also the company has now teamed up with S-Power, a UPS solutions
company, to provide fuel cell systems to S-Power for integration.
I had a chance to talk with Robert Schulte, the companies Managing
Director and when I asked why they had turned to fuel cells the
answer was a clear that it was customer requirements. Customers
were requiring UPS systems to be silent and emission free, which
for base stations got S Power into fuel cells. The first units
are now being tested in Germany before worldwide sales beings.
Nedstack are another industry success story. The PEM stack and
system producer now has orders in a range of markets, from stand-alone “generators” for
concerts, with Bredennood, to the development of the HyTruck (photos
will be in the full event report) which is fuel cell hybrid truck
which has been developed by a truck company. The stack is 16kW
with motors at 60kW. Interestingly the stack is only needed to
be 16kW because to provide propulsion at 50 km/hr you only need
15kW of power. Next year will see delivery of 10 of these trucks
with 4 hydrogen refuelling stations also to be created.
With plans for next year to head into the delivery of thousands
of units Nedstack is now focusing on cost down and manufacturing.
Going down a level to stack components Advert is a spin-out from
the University of Patras which is plugging directly in the high-temp
PEM trend. Advent is developing high-temp PEM polymers,
membranes and MEAs. As a very new company with a core focus on
R&D their products are already being tested by a number
of companies and they are expecting.
I also spoke today to an couple of what we see as old fashioned
companies which have developed a fuel cell system and are now looking
into which market they can sell the system. This scatter gun approach
is an interesting though somewhat high risk approach and has seen
a number of fuel cell company victims already. So all we can say
is good luck to these companies.
The full event report will include information on Ballard, Hydrogenics,
FutureE and Ceramic Fuel Cells.
Finally today I had a chat to Arno Evers, the founder of the Hydrogen
and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit. Passing over the torch of the Exhibit
to Tobias Renz has freed Arno up to follow his passion of Power
to the People. Alongside this he has now also launched the H2FC
Virtual Fair (www.virtual-fair.com)
which piggybacks on the success of Second Life to develop an online
fuel cell and hydrogen exhibition. Companies can subscribe to have
their virtual booth for a year and even just playing with the current
suite of examples it looks like slick technology which should be
really popular (expect to see us there soon).