100 international H2FC conferences attended and documented
From August 2003 to August 2009, thus within six years, my FAIR-PR team and I have attended 100 international hydrogen and fuel cells (H2FC) conferences and similar events in 24 countries, of which 22 took place in the U.S. and 13 in China respectively. In addition to the conference visits, which in itself were interesting enough, we have documented all events on our website www.hydrogenambassadors.com; with up to 150 expressive photos per event. The first half of these visits have been funded by us, the second half was done on behalf of the Deutsche Messe AG, Hannover, Germany. The goal of all these missions was to support the acquisition of exhibitors and to invite visitors to the Group Exhibit Hydrogen and Fuel Cells at the annual Hannover Fair until 2010.
At the 100 meetings, we attended 34-times as a speaker, 19-times as exhibitors (often together with the firm of Tobias Renz FAIR, my successor as organizer of the Group Exhibit) and gave a total of eleven poster presentations. Several times we visited power plants, which lay en route of our trips, like the Redbank Power Station near Singleton, NSW, Australia or the four Japanese nuclear power plants in the vicinity of Fukuoka, Kyushu, which moderator Ulrich "Ulli" Walter photographed. We also "inspected" six hydrogen filling stations alongside the California Hydrogen Highway.
The idea for the Internet documentation came from Ulrich Felger, our webmaster. When, in August 2003, I returned from the "Cooperation for Energy" - conference in Jerusalem, Israel with several photos, he suggested to make an Internet documentation about the event. Later, we improved our work, added captions and in some cases, our documentation were online already, even before the end of the respective events.
Funny enough, the organizer or the "Conference Director" of the first and of the 100th Internet Documentation was one and the same person: David Haberman, IF, LLC of Florida, USA. David is also an "old hand" in attending the Hanover Fair. Since 2000, he was seven times in Germany - either as exhibitor (5-times) or as forum participants (2-times). Also in 2010, he will be present again.
What has changed in all these years? Much and little. Much, because the number of participants in each conference - at least felt by us - decreases. From the original approx. 2,000 participants, e.g. at the annual Fuel Cell Seminar, to-date, only around 800 are attending. Little, because the audiences of these conferences do not seem to change all over the world. You meet more or less the same people everywhere. This also applies to the agenda, the conference programs, they contain often a déjà vu moment with the motto: "We already have heard somewhere something like this before". The participant mix seems also to be „the same of the same“, too. Originally, we have met some representatives of venture or equity capital here, however, in the hydrogen and fuel cell conferences they no longer occur. Even the representatives of auto and battery companies or from the IT and telecommunications industries, we see less and less.
All hydrogen conference in the world lead back to the THEME (The Hydrogen Economy Miami Energy) Conference, which was first launched on 18th March 1974 in Miami Beach, Florida by T. Nejat Veziroglu and his comrades. Since 1976, these conferences are called: World Hydrogen Energy Conference (WHEC). The first WHEC in Stuttgart, Germany was in 1996. We were there already, too but rather "on the edge". The last WHECs were in Yokohama (2004), Lyon (2006) and Brisbane (2008), we have visited all of them. They are taking place, says Professor Detlef Stolten, Chairman of the 18th Conference WHEC, to be held in May 2010 in Essen, Germany: "... to check the scientific and technical state of affairs and the political environment." In between are the "smaller" World Hydrogen Technologies and Technical Conferences (WHTC), which we also participated in Singapore (2005) and Montecatini Terme, Italy (2007). We missed this year's WHTC in Delhi, India, as it was in conflict with the date of the 5th Annual Hydrogen Implementation Conference in Charleston, WV, United States. Interestingly, the WHTC 2009 was supported and organized by the Indian Oil Corporation. To this day a list of exhibitors of this event is not available online.
The biggest impression on me made an event to support the implementation of hydrogen in Argentina. In May 2004 the Argentine Hydrogen Association was organizing a congress under the motto: HYDROGEN TODAY - hidrógeno HOY, a compact four-day program in which I, together with Prof. Carl-Jochen Winter, was allowed to participate as a representative of Germany. Here we were talking in front of a special meeting before the Argentine parliament in Buenos Aires. This special event was also attended by Dr. Daniel Scioli - the then vice-president of Argentina. On this occasion we visited, among other things, the wind power plant in Pico Trucado - Santa Cruz. The idea was/is, to produce hydrogen with the aid of electrolysis. Also we visited the private oil firm CAPEX SA, in Buenos Aires. They intended to use their own oil fields of Patagonia, to produce hydrogen with wind generators and then market hydrogen as an energy carrier worldwide. Unfortunately, I have not heard of this activity later. This is a pity, it sounded pretty reasonable.
Other major and important events are the Fuel Cell Seminars, the NHA- conferences, and of course, the Group Exhibit Hydrogen and Fuel Cells at the annual Hannover Fair. In conclusion: It was good to be at all these conferences, we've learned a lot. However, the real, big-scale breakthrough in hydrogen and fuel cells worldwide is still pending. I'm excited and hope to see this soon happen. On the other hand I hope, that we do not have to wait a further 100 international conferences for that. More to come...
Note from Werner Stuetzel, Editor:
Arno A. Evers invites you to visit the SolarPACES of 2009 in Berlin. With the subtitle: "Electricity, fuels and clean water powered by the sun (World's No. 1 CSP Conference)" this Congress is all about new uses of solar energy. It is organized by the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Center for Aerospace eV (DLR), Stuttgart. Evers is one of 94 international poster presenters, his poster has the title: "Direct Solar Hydrogen: The Next Steps"
And a brief additional editorial note:
Around the world Arno A. Evers and his FAIR-PR team have attended 100 hydrogen and fuel cells conferences in only six years. They know the international scene like no others. And who knows him recognizes - yes – that he himself has devoting his heart and soul to the emerging hydrogen and fuel cell industry. In 1995, he has founded the Group Exhibit Hydrogen and Fuel Cells at the annual Hannover Fair - with ten exhibitors exclusively from Germany. Not knowing whether it would be hot or flop.
It is due to his merit and thanks to his steadfast championing, that these H2FC devoted presentation has now developed to be the world's largest industry event. Now he takes stock - after 15 years, and after 100 conference participations. It doesn't sound very convincing. His sober conclusion: The movement is rather slow; the real market for fuel cells, with future commercial sales and profits seems to be well out of reach. And there is, not only according to his observations, something missing: "young blood" with courage, ideas, vision, and commitment which brings a new momentum into the industry - without the rigid view for funding. These are deficiency symptoms in industry, economy, politics and organizations alike; worldwide and on a global scale.
Let’s hope, together with Arno A. Evers, that it will not need another additional 100 H2FC conferences, before we really can, for example see - affordable - cars on the street, with a fuel cell in the power drive inside. With new, mainly with fresh designs and which do not come along as existing models, with fuel cells only installed as a gimmick. It can be interesting to see, what the upcoming IAA motor show in Frankfurt, Germany, has to offer in this respect.
The hydrogen and fuel cell technology needs to earn a successful future, especially when you talk about the comprehensive electric mobility. Arno A. Evers should certainly be given the treat as the highlight of his life's work, that it made sense to have been engaged in this Industry.
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