Reflections on the European Fuel Cell Forum (EFCF) 3-5 July 2019, Luzern, Switzerland

The EFCF alternates between high and low temperature technologies and this year it was the turn of low-temperature fuel cells and water electrolysers. As is often the case at fuel cell meetings, the attendance is very international, including speakers ranging from Europe, Japan, S Korea and the USA. If I could give one piece of advice to presenters at meetings such as this, is that the audience is pretty well educated, no need to rehearse the arguments for the hydrogen-based technologies – once a conference is enough.

It’s 18 years since I last attended the EFCF in Luzern, so I was eager to see what had changed. Lots of new faces as I might have expected, the community does reach across the age spectrum, and the presence of much bigger companies was a big change compared to 2001. There were some notable absences, perhaps affected by the new conferences on the block (ICoE for one) – we can’t attend them all. The exhibition area was similar to the last time I attended, not huge, but for those companies exhibiting they are targeting a very specific market segment.

Some really good talks and as ever, lots of useful discussions during networking. It’s always great to meet up with partners, customers, suppliers and old friends at these events.

Some really good take-aways:

– Academia is still playing catch-up with the technology developers.
– The engagement between academia and industry needs to be more open if we want to make real progress.
– There is still a need for step-changes in these technologies at system, stack and cell levels.
– The industry is becoming more mature, with (some) companies working out what they do well and outsourcing the rest.

Two years to decide whether to return.

D