Hydrogen to Create Buzz at Hannover Messe

WyRefueler won’t be on display in Hanover, but will be presented at the Public Forum, © Wystrach

The steadily growing interest in hydrogen and fuel cells will be on full display at this year’s Hannover Messe, to be held April 1 through April 5 at Hanover’s convention and expo center. This time, the event will shine an even bigger spotlight on integrated energy systems. Its organizers expect over 1,000 exhibitors to unveil new ideas, such as their plans for integrating heat with electricity in industrial settings and storing wind and solar energy as hydrogen and methane or using it to create liquid fuels.

The Energy show, one of six shows at Hannover Messe, has been renamed Integrated Energy this year. The new name, according to Deutsche Messe, the organizer of Hannover Messe, will underline that “the show will be all about integrating the markets for heat, electricity and transportation into a single energy system.” Moreover, it stated that “more renewable energy devices and further opportunities for generating electric power and heat at the point of use make it all the more necessary to change the system. Only if we upgrade the grid will we be able to ensure ample supply of energy at peak times.”

The electric transportation area was renamed as well. Known as Electric Vehicle Infrastructure from now on, it provides a platform to discuss charging technology, autonomous driving, new billing systems and solutions for transporting goods and people. As in previous years, it will be located in Hall 27 and will kick off with a speech by Henning Kagermann, chairman of the National Platform for the Future of Mobility, formerly NPE, now NPM (see National Platform NPM Gives Hydrogen a Chance). He will update attendees on the state of the electric vehicle market at the Electric Lounge Forum, at booth F81.

Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe

It will be the 25th time that hydrogen and fuel cell stakeholders share a large exhibit space at Hannover Messe. Located again in Hall 27, booths B45 through B59, along the main aisle and near the exit to Hall 25, could prove to be the key attraction. Across a total of four stalls, the National Organization Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, better known as NOW, the Brussels-based Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, or FCH JU, and multiple other public and private sector organizations will come together to unveil a “road map for the implementation of the National Industrial Strategy 2030 and the country’s climate protection goals,” as said in in a joint statement. Besides members of the DVGW, DWV and Hydrogen Europe associations, representatives for the Clean Energy Partnership, also known as CEP, H2 Mobility, GP Joule and e.GO REX will be coming to the show to offer attendees the full range of experiences. These will include test-driving and filling up a fuel cell car and listening to experts talk about policy and market conditions.

Under the motto Ride, Refuel & Talk, e.GO REX, based in Aachen, Germany, will display its e.GO Mover model, an all-electric, easily convertible and highly versatile minibus. This Level 4 autonomous bus, which can carry up to 15 passengers, can be equipped with a fuel cell range extender for longer journeys. At Hannover Messe, the company, a spin-off from RWTH Aachen University, aims to unveil a fuel cell prototype with up to 30 kilowatts of power output and storage for 6 kilograms of hydrogen to provide a range of 186 miles (300 kilometers). Jan-Philipp Prote, who chairs the production management department at RWTH, said that a low-volume series, to be used for both (private and commercial) cargo and passenger transportation, could come to market by 2021. The head of sales at e.GO REX, Sharon van Beek, told H2-international that the company considers “fuel cells a future-proof solution for vehicles that are on the road 24/7 and those driven in the countryside.”

Around 180 organizations will reportedly be exhibiting at the hydrogen and fuel cell pavilion, which would mark a new record for the joint exposition on its 25th anniversary.

A visit to this year’s Wystrach booth should prove equally interesting. It will be the company’s first-ever exhibit on the orange-carpeted area set up by Tobias Renz. At booth E68, the business will showcase its WyRefueler, a containerized large-capacity hydrogen storage solution (see fig. 1) that can be transported by truck or train and serve as a stand-alone system for filling hydrogen tanks. In October 2018, Wystrach unveiled a prototype unit, which it had designed during the EU-funded H2-Share project (see H2-international, January 2018), at an event celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary. Because of space restrictions, the WyRefueler system won’t be on display at Hannover Messe, but a smaller model system will be used to illustrate its technical features.

Additionally, in mid-February, Nproxx announced that its 500-bar type IV hydrogen tank had been approved for use. The company’s chief executive, Reinhard Hinterreither, said getting the product certified showed “that our technical approach is the right one to take and that our products are reliable and ready for the market. We can now go on to market our state-of-the-art carbon fiber pressure vessels and provide additional services.” Tobias Gottwald, communications manager at Nproxx, said the company would have a full-size version of its hydrogen storage system on display at booth D52 (see also Certifiably Complicated).

Another topic certain to feature prominently at this year’s show, as it had in the past, is electrolysis. Among the 20 electrolyzer manufacturers that will be at the hydrogen and fuel cell pavilion is Hoeller Electrolyzer, based in Wismar, Germany. Its chief executive, Stefan Höller, said the business would showcase “initial prototype stacks representing our new Prometheus line.” The stacks will be shown during the famous Electrolyzer Elevator Pitch at the Technical Forum, as well as booth D72.

New CEP chair to discuss current developments

One event that is going to be held at the Public Forum on Tuesday afternoon is a panel discussion with several hydrogen pioneers, who will talk about their careers. Holger Grubel, the head of the offshore wind department at EnBW, will be among those sharing their stories about the sector. He became interested in hydrogen as early as 20 years ago and was later employed at a wind power company in Hamburg. Today, he is witnessing things coming together that belong together: wind and hydrogen. A report, including details about his life and career, will be published in the July issue 2019 of H2-international.

The panel discussion will also give the new CEP chairman the opportunity to introduce himself. Thomas Bystry, who has managed the CEP, a consortium of companies operating in the industry, since early 2016, is going into early retirement. Expectations are that the organizations will appoint his replacement shortly before Hannover Messe is held. Considering that the current chairman and the previous one worked at oil companies (Shell and Total, respectively), it stands to reason that the new head of the partnership will be someone from the auto industry.

On the morning of the same day, another panel will talk about the creation of an industry alliance for installing 40 gigawatts of electrolyzer capacity. Among the panelists will be Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, known for his clear yet sometimes provocative statements.

The press conference at the pavilion, scheduled to take place at 11:00 am on the first day of the show, will see Bart Biebuyck, who chairs the FCH JU, speak about European, and German, hydrogen regions. Werner Diwald, the chairman of DWV, will not be in attendance. Instead, he is expected to participate in one panel discussion each day from Monday through Thursday.

North Rhine-Westphalia without official representation

The number of organizations exhibiting in Tobias Renz’ space will increase this year partly because North Rhine-Westphalia, or, more specifically, EnergieAgentur.NRW, won’t set up a pavilion. In late 2018, it wrote a letter to several organizations, saying the state would not offer a shared space for exhibitors, considering the sharp drop in the number of requests to be part of such an exhibit. Among those that could be found at the pavilion in past years are HyCologne, Wystrach and the ZBT, which plan to join the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells exposition. The state’s absence also means that the, widely popular, party that North Rhine-Westphalia hosted each year will not take place either. Nevertheless, EnergieAgentur.NRW will come to the show and exhibit at booth D68, as well as the Decentralized Energy Supply pavilion, at booth K42.

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