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“If ever there was momentum for hydrogen, it is now”

By Sven Geitmann

March 5, 2024

Image titel: Dr. Jochen Köckler

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“If ever there was momentum for hydrogen, it is now”

Interview with Dr. Jochen Köckler, chairman of Deutsche Messe

“We’re bringing people together.” With these words Dr. Jochen Köckler, board chairman of Deutsche Messe, described Hannover Messe’s ambition to once again be the place to go in real life for exhibitors and visitors in the industrial sector in 2024. This year, the focus will be even more on hydrogen than in 2023. Köckler emphasized the need for more togetherness by saying that the establishment of an H2 economy will “only succeed if people from politics and commerce work together.”

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H2-international: Dr. Köckler, in 2023, hydrogen was already one of the five core topics you showcased during Hannover Messe. Will the presence of H2 technology increase again in 2024?

Köckler: We assume that we will experience a significant increase in the area of hydrogen. At Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe as well as in the other exhibition areas of Hannover Messe, the signs are pointing to growth.

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H2-international: What will you, on the part of Deutsche Messe, do in order to underline the major importance of the topic hydrogen?

Köckler: With Norway as this year’s partner country, we are focusing on the topic of energy, and with that especially the topic of hydrogen. Germany and Norway agreed on an energy cooperation back in January 2023. In the joint declaration on hydrogen, the two countries reaffirmed their intention to establish a large-scale supply of hydrogen, including the necessary infrastructure, by 2030. Norway will therefore position itself with its joint stand in the energy section of the Hannover Messe.

H2-international: With Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe, one of the most important H2 trade fairs in Europe is part of your industry show. What can visitors expect there?

Köckler: Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe has been the meeting place for the international community for around 30 years. They meet there, they discuss all critical topics in two forums there. The Public Forum deals with current topics such as the question of what contribution hydrogen can make to reducing CO2. In the Technical Forum, new products and solutions are presented. Visitors who are interested in the topic of hydrogen will be given a comprehensive overview of technical innovations there but also of different fields of application.

But H2 solutions will be shown not only at the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe in hall 13, but also in other areas of the Hannover Messe. We are pleased that increasingly more exhibitors with hydrogen-related and fuel cell-related products are represented. In total, we expect more than 500 companies in Hannover. This will give the hydrogen economy a real boost. Salzgitter AG, for example, is informing on climate-neutral production of green steel from green hydrogen in hall 13.

H2-international: Were you at the Hydrogen Technology Expo in Bremen? Are you impressed by how quickly this trade fair has grown and how professionally it has matured?

Köckler: When a topic gains in importance, new opportunities for trade fairs naturally arise. That is normal. Our advantage is that we have been working in the field of hydrogen and fuel cells for decades and, in all this time, have established a unique community. This appreciates the integration of Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe in Hannover Messe, as it has direct access to industry, the energy sector and politics here. No other trade fair in the world has this.

H2-international: What is your view of the German events sector? What are the advantages of Hannover Messe compared to now large European H2 trade fairs such as those in Rotterdam or Paris?

Köckler: Hannover Messe is a horizontal trade fair at which representatives from politics, commerce and academia exchange ideas every year. They cross-fertilize each other and work together to drive developments forward. In hall 2, for example, scientists from leading research institutes will be showing what products and solutions are being researched. In the other halls of the Hannover Messe, the focus is on specific applications. Politics will be even more strongly represented this year than in previous years, as in addition to the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, German economy minister Robert Habeck and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, are expected

The EU will be strongly represented overall. On the first day of the fair, the EU conference “EU as Home of the Decarbonised Industry” is taking place in the Convention Center on the fairgrounds in Hannover. At the event, industry representatives can exchange ideas with high-ranking EU politicians to discuss relevant topics such as the Green Deal. This possibility only Hannover Messe offers. Particularly in the energy sector is contact with politicians important, as all political decisions in this area have an impact on businesses.

Interviewer: Sven Geitmann

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