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At the upcoming Hannover Messe, running from 17 to 21 April, some 500 companies will be presenting their solutions for hydrogen production, transport, storage and consumption. The opportunities for all of these companies are vast because, by 2030, the EU Commission wants to install electrolyzers with a capacity of at least 40 gigawatts to produce 10 million tons of green hydrogen in a phased-in process.
The hydrogen economy is international, leading to a plethora of new, innovative companies worldwide. The technology has also triggered a boom in the southern Harz region of Germany. The exhibitor Maximator Hydrogen, a manufacturer of hydrogen filling stations, has been growing for years and is aiming for sales of 50 million euros – in its fifth business year. Construction is underway and production space is constantly being expanded. The company’s order backlog now exceeds 100 million euros.
Numerous European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are profiting from the hydrogen economy and are constantly developing new solutions for hydrogen generation, infrastructure, transport, storage and refueling. Some 300 exhibitors will be showcasing their solutions at the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells EUROPE special display at HANNOVER MESSE alone, including well-known companies such as Bosch, Iberdrola, Schaeffler, Siemens, Linde and Emerson.
The hydrogen industry thinks internationally and will be showcased primarily in Hall 13, where decision-makers from all over the world will be discussing new technologies and applications for hydrogen and fuel cells in an area covering approximately 8,000 square meters of display space. Apart from Germany and Europe a lot of exhibitors are from China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Canada.
Being an important partner for German and European future plans, Norway is also strongly represented at the show. Equinor and German-based RWE recently signed an agreement to produce hydrogen in Norway and export it via pipeline to Germany, as well as converting gas-fired power plants to hydrogen and jointly developing offshore wind farms. Statkraft and Germany's HH2E presented their agreements with the Norway-based NEL company to purchase electrolyzers for hydrogen factories in several European countries. NEL is one of 14 Norwegian companies at the show. Among other things, the engineers will present their latest generation of electrolyzers.
Europe already produces and consumes around 80 million tons of hydrogen annually, with the trend pointing upward. The key challenge is to “greenify” the current and future consumption of hydrogen. By 2030, the EU Commission wants to replace gray hydrogen with green hydrogen, since gray hydrogen is based on fossil energy sources. Ambitions here are high. It will take many more electrolyzers to reach the target, with only seven more years to go.
According to the Fraunhofer Institute, the most efficient technology for producing hydrogen comes from Belgium, with its ZIRFON separators for alkaline electrolysis (AEL) being used by manufacturers of electrolyzers and owners of hydrogen production projects across the globe due to their durability and sustained high productivity, according to the developers.
But it’s not just Europe that is betting on hydrogen. Many companies are also investing in China. Refire, for example, says it is already operating more than 4,000 fuel cell trucks. On the first day of the exhibition, Audrey Ma, Vice President at Refire, will discuss “Heavy Duty Trucks – is Hydrogen the future?” with representatives of European industry, including Jens Fleckenstein of Daimler Truck and Yves Dumoulin of the FORVIA Group.
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