The Hydrogen Economy has been talked about, invested in and debated for around 20 years, and today gasworld’s Europe Conference 2018 dedicates its first day to the topic as it gets underway in Amsterdam.

Whilst not necessarily new, what is new or changing is that the Hydrogen Economy is being redefined.

The drive to phase out the traditional combustion engine for hydrogen or fuel cell-powered vehicles was the original focus; hydrogen and energy storage evolved alongside automotive or mobility applications. The Hydrogen Economy is now evolving further to encompass the production of hydrogen through ‘green’ routes, as gasworld CEO John Raquet explained this morning, “Welcome everyone, and thank you for your participation – from Malta, from Turkey, from across Europe and indeed the world.”

“This is a departure from our usual conference subject matter, we usually focus on the core gases business but we’re here today to explore the fast-changing world of clean energies – hydrogen and LNG are on the periphery of the gases industry, but both are increasingly hot topics for our business.”

More than 150 delegates from 23 countries have gathered at the Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre – a defining landmark situated in the historic city centre of Amsterdam, which used to hold the Dutch Stock Exchange – ready to tackle this continuously evolving definition of the Hydrogen Economy, what it means today and where it is growing in Europe.

Europe is at the heart of the clean energies transition, with the industrial gas and equipment industry perfectly positioned to play a leading role in enabling a cleaner, greener future for all. Understanding this new business environment and exactly where the challenges and opportunities lie – as well as making the right strategic moves now – will be key to future sustainability and success tomorrow.

Under the theme Positioning Today for Tomorrow’s Opportunities, day one is now underway and tackling the evolving Hydrogen Economy, while day two will focus on distributive LNG and where the opportunities are in this business.

Raquet and Pierre-Etienne Franc, Vice-President of Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy WBU, and Secretary of the Hydrogen Council, have now officially opened the conference, with the latter underlining, “The Hydrogen Economy is on the periphery of the industry gas industry. The key issue we see at Air Liquide and so many other companies is that the Hydrogen Economy should be at the core of the gases industry – the question is, how and when? I want to share with you how Air Liquide is trying to shape this business and help it become a reality.”

“The Hydrogen Council was created one year ago and it was created as an initiative to show the world that amongst the wave of next generation technologies, there is going to be a key energy player and that player is hydrogen.”

”It was the first time that we managed to get a consensus between the oil and gas, utility, industrial gas and many other sectors, across one initiative, and if we can truly create that unity then hydrogen might be able to fully succeed as a key part of the energy transition.”

In giving a rousing call to action, he urged, ”All industries are being faced with the need to decarbonise their sectors…It is possible to make out of hydrogen, the energy vector of the future.”

”We think as Air Liquide that everything is in place for an acceleration in moving to scale. There is a systemic need; there is strong technology potential; the early markets are starting up; we have many growing support policies.”

“The shift to a low-carbon economy is nothing scientifically evident. Every technology has pros and cons – if you don’t move into the debate with conviction, if we don’t do it, nobody will do it for us. We are - all of us - we are all the market shaper’s, and if we do it now it will work.”

Agenda

A range of esteemed figures within the industry will be sharing their insights during day one of the conference, including:

  • · Ian Williamson, Chairman - EHA
  • · Thijs De Groot, Innovation Technologist - AkzoNobel
  • · Jan Burdinski, Executive Director - Hyundai
  • · Anne Kleczka, Head of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Department - BMW
  • · Prof. Marcus Newborough, Development Director - ITM Power
  • · Cornelius von der Heydt, Head of Business Development & Sales - Hydrogenious
  • · Dr. Andreas Bröcker, Head of Technology and Innovation Linde AG

Follow the conference

Stay up-to-date with all the latest news, views and developments at the Europe Conference 2018 via the gasworld website, updated throughout the two-day event. 

gasworld will also be tweeting live updates during the conference, which you can follow on Twitter using the hashtag #GWEUROPE18.

A full review of the conference will be published in the upcoming June edition of gasworld magazine.