The World Smart Energy Week has come and gone for another year. For the FC Expo, this marked the 13th annual meeting in Tokyo, Japan at Tokyo Big Site. This was the first year that the FC Expo took to the new East Hall; almost half a mile into Tokyo Big Site. While the walk was long it was worth the trip to see how our industry has advanced over the last 12 months, since the last FC Expo. The room as a buzz with conscious optimism, as industry leaders discussed their new fuel cell projects, product launches, and industry trends.
Fuel Cell Vehicles Continue to Pick Up Steam
One thing is clear when we visited the FC Expo; Japan is pushing hard for fuel cell vehicles to be successful. Both the Honda Clarity and the Toyota Miria were on display to help visitors understand the complex engineering that goes into this new technology. Japan is making a strong effort to market the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the Hydrogen games, and these two car makers will be front and center along with fuel cell powered buses, delivery trucks, and buildings. Over the next three years, this focus will continue to breath live into the fuel cell industry.
Outside of Japan, Symbio FCell presented its new product, a fuel cell taxi. Symbio’s CEO, Fabio Ferrari explained their idea to make a smarter electric vehicle. As European cities move to outlaw diesel vehicles from city centers, Symbio has found ways to give electric vehicles something the desperately need, range. Symbio, in partnership with Nissan, recently announced via a press release more information on the new fuel cell powered taxi. The taxi concept is Symbio’s second vehicle set at displaying diesel; the company’s first product is a fuel cell delivery truck.
Stationary Fuel Cell Systems and China is making Large Investments into Fuel Cells
Every year there are many fuel cell systems on display, showcasing ways to impact Japan’s energy crisis. This year many well-known companies presented one to five-kilowatt fuel cell system products aimed at residential use. There are currently 20,000 solid oxide fuel cell systems powering homes in Japan with more scheduled for installation every year.
As Japan works with fuel cells to provide better energy to its people, China is positioning itself to do the same. This year there were more Chinese suppliers, manufacturers, and investors than any year previous. Companies like Shanghai Reinventing Fire Technology Company Limited (Re-Fire) showed off their fuel cell system, bus concept and even a fuel cell powered drone. China is still in the early stages of its five-year plan for fuel cells, but we can already see critical pieces come into place.
fuelcellmaterials’ Presence at the FC Expo
While FCM didn’t have a booth at this year’s FC Expo, both Nathan and Chris were on site with a few of our world class distributors, TOYO Corp (Japan), Hephas Energy (China), and C&S Specialty (Korea). There was a lot of buzz for solid oxide fuel cell components and materials at the show this year. The show was a great opportunity for FCM to meet with customers and partners to better understand how we could supply them powders, coated interconnects, and components with the performance and volume they require to meet their ever advancing goals for 2017. We are hopeful that the work we will conduct this year will help our partners reach their potential within the fuel cell market.