This years trade fair is bigger and better than previous years, with about 133 companies being represented, compared to 100 last year. There is a strong turnout from across the globe, although German companies feature prominently (70 German companies, 19 US, 7 Italian, with the other countries represented by 1-3 organizations).
Looking to the stands, application representation for this year is more evenly distributed, except for the automotive stands which remain decidedly European. Out on the floor the hydrogen and fuel cell exhibitors are classified together in the Energy hall, next to other sectors such as renewable energy, and large integrated multinational suppliers.
This is one of the strengths of the Hanover Fair - the setup means that there is a steady stream of non-fuel cell industry suppliers and consumers, who have frequently heard of fuel cells but who have not had much direct contact with the industry before. Exhibitors have a small stage on which they publicise their works, emphasising the industrial nature of the fair. The exhibition room has plenty of space for interaction between exhibitors, and that has made the meeting places busy.
Linde, the largest producer of industrial gases in the world came up first. For some years now, Linde has been a regular participant. Linde's main interest is in hydrogen supply for industrial use, but they are highly involved in supplying the transportation sector. Linde is heavily involved in current efforts to develop hydrogen refueling stations for demonstration projects around the world, and have two refueling stations in Berlin amongst others. Linde operates the world's only mobile hydrogen refueling station.
Following that was the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC), an intergovernmental organization set up following the break-up of the Soviet Union with the intention of mobilizing the CIS region's vast technical resources. ISTC have also newly started a unit aimed at developing products to fight terrorism. The speaker made mention of their involvement in political duties and this distinguishes them amidst other companies at the fair.
Professor Alexei Khokhlov, the Scientific Director of NIC NEP gave an outline of his organization and their goals. NIC NEP was established in 2005, and came up to collaborate between Norilsk Nickel and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The purpose of NIC NEP is to implement the scientific ideas emanating from RAS, and bring them to the level where they are fit for commercialization.
Plug power's John Vogel, was up next. He talked about the new development of high temperature polybenzimidazole (PBI) PEMs, which produce high quality waste heat useful for residential scale CHP, which have a higher CO tolerance than conventional PEMs, and which require no liquid water management systems.
Ballard, the Canadian veteran company of PEM fame, and direct rival to Plug, showcased their achievements and proceeding projects. Two noted areas of growth for Ballard are in 'material handling' (i.e. forklift trucks) and residential CHP in Japan.
That's all for today - more from the floor as the week goes on.