As the bustling city of London awoke and the morning began to spring into life, a mass crowd descended on the Queen Elizabeth II Conference centre in Westminster and heralded the start of the Tenth Grove Fuel Cell Symposium.

Delegates dawned on the ground-floor registration foyer to take part in the event and gasworld was present to see all the action unfold.

Opening the proceedings, Grove Steering Committee chairman Lars Sjunnesson officially welcomed attendees to the symposium and kick-off a much anticipated day of discussion and forward thinking.

The Grove Medal presentation saw Haldor Topsoe honoured despite his unavoidable absence, recognising Topsoe’s dedicated work, achievements and continued efforts in the fuel cell industry.

One of the key issues raised at the symposium was the challenges currently faced in the transport sector, with UTC Power president Jan van Dokkum highlighting the need for environmental responsibility and urgent action to make the necessary technological advancements.

“We need to make great strides on technology advancements in the next couple of years, because we have to increase the pace, the pace of demonstration, the pace of advancement and the pace of commercialisation,” said van Dokkum.

Van Dokkum also underlined the importance of social responsibility towards the environment as he said, “What we need is energy efficiency, environmental responsibility and energy security. Those are the 3 elements that my company is built upon and focussing our growth to.”

As well as addressing the issues surrounding energy security and challenges in the transport sector, the plenary sessions at the symposium also discussed the challenges faced in the stationary sector and initiatives driving fuel cells and hydrogen technology forward in the EU and more specifically, the UK.

The success of the symposium, which attracted delegates from over 25 nations worldwide, will ultimately be reflected in years to come and the development of a future hydrogen fuel cell economy.

In the short term however, it seems the issues of significance and topics of both discussion and debate are effectively being embarked upon. Attendance at some of this year’s plenary session talks may have been slightly disappointing, as noted by one or two guest speakers, but the commitment to tackle the challenges of the future remains intact.

And the Grove Fuel Cell Symposium has continued to emphasise the pressing subjects ahead, since day one. Gary Acres, honorary president of the Grove Steering Committee, said of the significance of Grove, “Anyone who thinks climate change is new is wrong. At Grove one, climate change was highlighted as an additional opportunity for fuel cells.”