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Essen, Germany

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Montecatini Terme, Italy
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London, UK
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Florence, Italy
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Uncasville, CT, USA

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London, UK

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Brussels, Belgium

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Washington, D.C., USA

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Nov 2003 - Jul. 2004
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#1 Cooperation for Energy Independence of Democracies in the 21st Century
Jerusalem, Israel

Aug. 2003
Shanghai International
Industry Fair (SIF) 2004

International Meeting Point with Conference, Renewable Energies China, incl. Hydrogen + Fuel Cells, Shanghai, China  
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Daily News from Fuel Cell Today

Welcome to Fuel Cell Today’s LIVE coverage of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibition during the Hannover Trade fair in Germany. We will keep you up-to-date with the latest developments during this highlight event.

23 April 2004

Welcome to today’s live report, this will be the last day we are reporting from the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit during the Hannover Fair.

One of the exhibits which attracted the most attention is the fuel cell powered Fiat Seicento on the booth of Nuvera Fuel Cells (D40-4). The car, powered by a 40kW PEM fuel cell was presented to the public in October 2003 together with another fuel cell powered Fiat Panda.The company offers the chance to test drive the vehicle in the exhibition hall.

During yesterday’s roundtable “Stationary Fuel Cells”, representatives from Fuel Cell Technologies, European Fuel Cell, Axane and MTU CFC Solutions were discussing the chances for the technology in this sector. Although the four companies pursue different paths in terms of technology and power range, the speakers agreed, that back-up and premium, grid and off-grid power will certainly be one of the earlier markets for fuel cells. MTU (E46-1) is also present on the exhibition floor, presenting its flagship stationary fuel cell unit, the MCFC “HotModule”. The 250kW system has been installed in various places, including sites in Japan, Germany and the USA. MTU announced that in the future, larger systems up to 3MW and smaller systems below 250kW will be available.

Quite remarkably, MTU’s parent company DaimlerChrysler doesn’t exhibit during this years show, having had the biggest booth last year. Competitor General Motors/Opel, having displayed their HyWire model last year is also not present.

22 April 2004

Day four of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit, and of the booth of German/Belgian MEA manufacturer Umicore (D46-3), visitors to the fair have the chance to take a closer look at a small fuel cell powered three-wheeler. The “Fuel Cell SAM”, a vehicle jointly developed with the University of Applied Science Biel, Switzerland, is a hybrid (Lithium polymer batteries), equipped with a 6kW PEM unit, a 14 litres metal hydride storage system and a driving range of 200km. (We reported on this project in our Austria-Switzerland-Italy survey). Although the project is not brand new, and Umicore doesn’t exhibit any other new developments, the booth was still one of the major attractions during the exhibition.

Australian Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited – CFCL (D40-2), probably the company furthest away from Hannover, showcases a model of a new development of a 1kW combined heat and power (CHP) SOFC unit. The system is designed for domestic applications and build up of CFCL standard 150W sub-stacks. The company hasn’t announced any large scale demonstration projects yet, but we believe that a small number of units will be in place within the next 10-20 months.

On the booth of the Portuguese SRE (Solucoes Racionais Energie, booth E57-2), the company presents its products in the field of small PEM for remote monitoring systems. SRE is currently working on a 5W stack for 10W systems (field tests started in April 2004), 50W stacks for 100W systems (July 2004) and a 250W stack for 500W systems (end of 2004).

21 April 2004

Today started with a formal welcome of the Chinese delegation to the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit. About two dozen representatives from the Chinese government, including the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and various research and development agencies highlighted the efforts the country is making to catch up with other Asian, European and American industries. Mr Qingxi from MOST pointed out, that China is welcoming investors and technology producers, and other companies to the country; financial incentives, a huge and growing domestic market and environmental problems make China an interesting place for fuel cell organisations. The day will see various international workshops were exhibitors have the chance to talk to the Chinese participants.

Hannover Group Exhibit organiser Arno A Evers is also trying to get into this market; a new Chinese Group Exhibit will take place in Shanghai during the International Industry Fair in November 2004 (4.-9. Nov.).

Back on the exhibition floor, on booth D40-1, research and development company eVionyx shows various of its metal air fuel cells. Even though this technology is not regarded as a “real” fuel cell, since its functional design is different from conventional units, development in this sector is much more advanced. eVionyx is already selling its products and has managed to manufacture units the same size as conventional batteries for small electronic devices.

On booth F58-1, four companies from the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern display their products and promote the just recently founded state Hydrogen technology Initiative. Start-up company 3P Energy displays its latest developments in small DMFC membrane development. The company has been working for just over a year and will eventually produce small MEAs and maybe complete systems for small portable electronic devices, such as laptops. Membranes, and catalysts are developed in house and the design enables a higher methanol concentration and doesn’t need bi-polar plates.

German “Zentrum fuer Brennstoffzelen Technik – ZBT” (Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, booth E58-2) displays a newly developed 300W (400W peak) PEM APU unit, which can run on buthan and similar gases. The model shows the unit implemented in an APU for small sailing boats.

The booth (D38-1) of the “Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellen Initiative (Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Initiative)” of the German state of Hesse shows the latest developments of various members of the association. The University of Applied Science in Wiesbaden (FH Wiesbaden) for example showcases a fuel cell powered go-cart. The vehicle is powered by a Ballard Nexa 1.2kW PEM fuel cell which can bring the cart up to 30km/h. A Dynetek hydrogen storage tank supplies enough fuel for up to 180km. Another company on the booth is Magnum, which has launched a test stand for DMFC, PEM and SOFC.

On the Hydrogenics booth (F39-4), the company displays its latest hydrogen dispensing pump (H2GO and HySTAT, 65kg/day). Next door, the company’s subsdiary Greenlight announced yesterday the extension of its next generation G-series fuel cell testing equipment. The new “FCATS G50” and “G300” units expands Greenlight's product offerings in the up to 4kW cell and component R&D testing and the “G700” is a high power test station for automotive applications. The small G50 unit is displayed next door on the TDI booth (F39-1).

Another interesting development in the area of hydrogen processing and distribution facilities is taking place on the booth of Hexion and Nexus Global, a subsidiary of Ballast Nedam (F38-3). Hexion is working on a hydrogen fuelling system and is displaying a dispensing unit.

Over the last three days, it has also been noticeable, that the German press is extremely interested in this year’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit. Monday’s visit of the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder made it even on the front page of one of Germanys leading business newspaper, the “Handelsblatt”. Other papers, including the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – FAZ”, the German “Financial Times” and various local broadsheets also published up to one-page articles on the technology and the event.

20 April 2004
The second day of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit started much busier than yesterday.

During lunch, the first “Round Table” discussion took place on the stage of the forum of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit. Mr Daggett (Boeing), Mr Rothammer (Airbus) and Dr Henne (DLR ­ German Centre for Aerospace) were discussing the use of “Fuel Cells in Commercial Airplanes”.

Both manufacturers have started to work on various possibilities to implement the technology into planes. The main advantage of using fuel cells in this case are not just ecological. Conventional jet engines are designed to keep the plane in the air, they are not very efficient in supplying energy for additional devices, such as light, air condition, heating facilities for food, video and stereo equipment which are now much more common in commercial aviation. While PEM fuel cells are preferred, mainly due to the low operating temperature, they need pure hydrogen which either has to be reformed from kerosene or has to be stored additionally to the aviation fuel.

On the booth of the DLR (F53-1), an example of future fuel cell application on planes can be seen. The DLR demonstrates a fuel cell powered overhead reading light, mounted to two plane seats. The light is powered by DLR’s xcellenTT.1 portable power unit.

US manufacturer Plug Power shares its booth (D52-2) with German heating partner Vaillant this year. The two companies demonstrate the 4.6kW GenCore PEM unit, which has been supplied to many sites in the USA and worldwide and which is also in use in a Vaillant demonstration project in Europe.

German heating appliance manufacturer Viessmann (D46-1) showcases its compact 2kW PEM fuel cell for small stationary home applications. Together with its partners Umicore, Sued Chemie, SGL Carbon, ZSW and the University of Dortmund, Viessmann plans to launch a small scale demonstration project in 2006 and is confident to launch a commercial product within 5-6 years.

The “Zentrum fuer Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden Wuerttemberg (Centre for Solar- and Hydrogen Research - ZSW, booth F53-4) announced today that it has launched a subsidiary, the “Brennstoffzellen Manufaktur Ulm” which will start to distribute the fuel cell stacks and units developed by the ZSW. One of the research centre’s latest development is a 300W (500W peak) PEM fuel cell hybrid system back-up unit. The so-called “Power Bag 300h” is fitted in three modular cases which allow great flexibility in terms of changing the storage unit and the power electronics module. The 30kg Power Bag is fitted in a rugged container and fixed on a small trolley which allows manoeuvrability.

Swiss electric and fuel cell component manufacturer MES-DEA (D64-4) is showcasing its latest fuel cell scooter. The advanced model is equipped with a 6kW PEM fuel cell which is fitted, together with the hydrogen storage, in the normal engine compartment of the scooter, making it different to last years exhibit which needed an extra storage box. A top speed of around 85km/h can be achieved and the driving range is up to 140km.

Next to MES-DEA, the Chinese Fuyuan Century Fuel Cell Power Company (D64-3) exhibits various smaller units. On display is a 170W PEM portable power system, of which the company has sold around 20-30 products, mainly to customers in the USA. Although the system looks very smart already, Fuyuan will showcase an advanced and smaller version in a couple of weeks time during a show in China. Other newly developed systems include a 2kW, 50kg small stationary fuel cell unit (PEM) for household power supply.

On the both of British Intelligent Energy (E58-1), visitors can find a new 2kW PEM portable power supply unit in a rugged version, developed for the US military. The system is currently in a test phase at a sub-organisation of the US Army CECOM. Additionally, a very neat and compact 50kW PEM unit is on display, which was designed with support from the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to be eventually fitted in transport applications (small vehicles).

19 April 2004
The exhibition opened its gates this morning to the general public, and Arno A. Evers, the organiser of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit welcomed the over 110 exhibitors from around the world. This year marks a special occasion for the event, since it is taking place for the 10th time; a long way from its humble beginnings in 1995 when the group exhibit attracted only 10 exhibitors. Maybe we can take the conclusion, that this significant rise in exhibitor numbers and an increased interest from the general public will see the fuel cell technology widely succeed in a couple of years.

During the official start and a press conference of the exhibition, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder visited the Group Exhibit and had a chance to ride a fuel cell powered fork lift truck, developed by Proton Motor, Still and Linde (Hall 13, booth D46-4). The vehicle uses the fuel cell as a replacement for conventional battery power. The 18KW PEM fuel cell is fuelled by compressed hydrogen, which is stored on-board at 350bar (tank 2 x 40litres)

On the booth of AirLiquide's subsidiary Axane Fuel Cell Systems, (Hall 13, booth E38-1) visitors have the chance to see the company's latest product, the "MobiAxane", a 2.5kW small stationary/portable PEM fuel cell unit. The product is basically a much more advanced version of last year's presented RollerPac. MobiAxane is only about half the size and weight of the previous model and the company has plans to sell the approx. 5-10 units this year and a further 30-50 the year after. The price will be Euro 20,000; nice to see more and more manufacturers actually putting price tags on their products.

Meanwhile, in exhibition hall 18 (Booth J6), German car manufacturer Audi, part of the Volkswagen group, is displaying its fuel cell powered Audi A2 (we reported earlier last week). The car is powered by a 70kW Ballard PEM fuel cell and equipped with a Dynetek gaseous hydrogen storage tank. Even though the Volkswagen group has been quite reserved with its announcements in the fuel cell sector previously, now it seems the company is trying to catch up, displaying also a fuel cell APU in a people carrier three weeks ago. So far, Audi has no detailed plans for large-scale demonstration projects; the company believes that a very small fleet will bring the same results.

Back in hall 13 on the hydrogen and fuel cell group exhibit, QuestAir (Booth E57/6) showcases its latest development in hydrogen purification systems. The H-3200 is much more compact then comparable units and comes at a reasonable price as well (around US$100,000).

German Masterflex AG, who has presented a fuel cell powered mobile office system last year during the Hannover fair, is displaying a fuel cell powered bike this year. A 250W PEM fuel cell, developed by Masterflex, a metal hydride storage tank (45grams of hydrogen) and an integrated electric motor allow a driving range of 120km. Eventually, the company would like to commercialise the bike, and the advanced fuel cell/metal hydride technology, which allows a up to five times higher operating time then competing electric bicycles, should definitely help.

On the booth of the Fuel Cell Test and Evaluation Center – FCTec (D58-2), visitors had another chance to take a closer look at the fuel cell powered Segway, which the organisation already displayed during the 2003 Fuel Cell Seminar in Miami Beach in November.

On a general note, we have noticed that the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Group Exhibit is taking much more space in hall 13 this year, which it shares with other exhibitors of renewable energy products and services; whether this is an indication of a declining interest in wind- solar and thermal-power or an increasing interest in fuel cells is hard to say.

Generally speaking, after talking to representatives of various organisations and following the forum programme during the first day, this years show seems to attract a much more professional audience and members of the general public which are very well informed about the advantages and problems of the fuel cell technology. It seems that large-scale demonstration projects here in Germany, e.g. the participation of the cities of Hamburg and Stuttgart in the CUTE bus project and the stationary fuel cell programmes of MTU, Sulzer Hexis, Vaillant and Viessmann, definitely help to raise awareness.

That’s it for the first day, we will continue tomorrow morning since there are many more interesting displays to report on.

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