Hydrogen Technology Expo total success
In autumn 2023 as well, the Hydrogen Technology Expo was again the event you had to be at. For the third time in a row, the British organizer Trans-Global Events Ltd was able to dramatically increase the number of exhibitors as well as visitors – which is why the trade fair halls of the Hanseatic city on the Weser (Bremen) will no longer be sufficient in 2024. The move to Hamburg this year is therefore inevitable and had been predicted early on by H2-international (see H2-international Feb. 2023).
The trend is unmistakable: More and more companies from the mechanical engineering, electrical and chemical industries are flooding the hydrogen market. Accordingly, a large number of completely new exhibitors could be found in the four trade fair halls in Bremen. Among them were numerous unknown names, but also heavyweights such as Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil or ITM Power.
After 180 exhibitors in the first and 350 in the second year, this time there were over 550 – in 2024, there should be at least 100 more. The number of visitors increased from 5,000 in the previous year to over 10,000.
Moving towards mass production
Companies like the chemicals corporation Gore had explicitly “chosen this trade show in Europe” because “Europe is furthest along.” Nouchine Humbert, Global Marketing Director of W.L. Gore, told H2-international, “This is a market where we expect strong growth.” Referred to is particularly the electrolysis sector, because in comparison fuel cells need “many more square meters than electrolyzers.”
Sufficient production capacity is available to the North American company – in Japan. The production lines there are enough for another five years, asserted Rainer Enggruber, director of the division PEM/water/electrolysis products. Gigawatt announcements are therefore not a challenge for the membrane manufacturer, it was confidently stated.
New tubular reactor
An innovation was shown by the Hebmüller Group. Sales director Marc Hebmüller presented the prototype of the HydroGenMHD (see Fig. 1), an H2 generation device from One Scientific of Johnson City, Tennessee. The company Hebmüller is the European licensee of the US system developer that developed this compact tubular catalyst, in whose magnetohydrodynamic chamber hydrogen is generated upon splitting off of oxygen from water vapor.
Marc Hebmüller explained: “This innovative technology employs a unique system where superheated steam is subjected to a catalyst and intense magnetic fields generated through the MHD process. These magnetic fields induce controlled plasma dynamics within the feedstock, facilitating the dissociation of molecules into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas.”
Stack based on circuit boards
A completely new concept for the production of fuel cells was presented by Bramble Energy: a fuel cell stack based on printed circuit board technology. The British company founded in 2017 relies here on the plastic FR4, which provides the necessary stability, and copper as a heat as well as electricity conductor. Between two circuit boards is one membrane each, which means that bipolar plates can be dispensed with entirely. Instead, a monopolar plate constitutes a single cell, of which several are then stacked.
The technology readiness level Carsten Pohlmann, director for business development (see Fig. 2), puts at TRL 9, and the price per kilowatt at 100 USD. First tests in a Renault demonstrator and with a 100 kW system for a double-decker bus are already underway.
Carsten Pohlmann presented in Bremen for the first time the circuit board cell from Bramble
The next Hydrogen Technology Expo Europe will take place October 23 and 24, 2024 on the fairgrounds of Messe Hamburg. It therefore will overlap by one day with WindEnergy.