Energy Industry historians might look back at the 2018 Hannover Messe Hydrogen Fuel Cells Group Exhibit as a turning point for the industry.  The gathering grew in size and diversity of vendors (especially electrolysis), product line up (MW scale solutions) and expectations of growth in client orders.  Two stories emerged as the main drivers of change: 1) ‘power to gas’ which converts excess renewables and grid power into hydrogen and 2) China.

The hydrogen fuel cell market now appears to be organizing its outlook for growth into two buckets: China and The Rest of the World.  Of course this is an exaggeration.  The market is more nuanced with significant near term growth expectations in Japan, Korea, Germany, UK, and France.  Yet China has emerged as the big story.

There were two interviews that suggested China is preparing to push for volume-led cost reductions in hydrogen production and fuel cell vehicles with the possibility of some Chinese OEMs on exporting affordable FCVs beyond 2025.

Powercell (Sweden) is a fuel cell company spun off from Volvo Group in 2008.   Powercell is a leader in fuel cell solutions for transportation. One of its strongest partnerships is with Nikola Motor (Class 8) electric trucks which will include Powercell’s S3 (100 kW) fuel cell stack.

Powercell’s CEO Per Wassen spoke about market momentum and hinted at growth ahead in China. “China will be the main volume market in the future.”  China has realized they cannot create recharging stations for all electric vehicles.   There is a 2025 plan for China to export Fuel Cell Vehicles that could challenge European automakers trying to bring FCVs to market.

The second notable interview was with Ski Milburn, CEO VAIREX air systems.  For Hydrogen fuel cell enthusiasts Milburn delivers one of the most honest assessments of the painful (recent) past — but

 

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