For the last 20 years, the mantra within the fuel cell market has been, “Within three years, fuel cells will be mainstream.” At the 2014 Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition Symposium, four expert industry insiders gave proof that the wait is over.
The OFCC Symposium took place June 10-11 and attracted fuel cell manufacturers, integrators and industry suppliers from across the country. The keynote address was delivered by Robert Rose, executive director of Breakthrough Technologies Institute Inc. Rose’s address focused on the rapid growth of fuel cell adoption for residential, commercial and automotive applications in Japan, where fuel cell manufacturers are concurrently increasing system exports to Europe.
Chris McWhinney, CEO of Millennium Reign Energy LLC, gave additional evidence of the rapid growth of fuel cells for motive and stationary applications, but from the perspective of his company’s production of compact hydrogen generators and fuel dispensers. Tom Hoying, vice president, corporate accounts at Plug Power, spoke of its success in the industrial materials handling space and delivered a resounding forecast for continued growth.
William Whittenberger, president and CTO of Catacel Corp., delivered the Symposium’s closing address, in which he related Catacel’s sustained high growth rate to increases in the number of fuel cell platforms that use Catacel’s structured catalysts, and also to its diversification into related areas such as compact reformers and next-generation industrial gas and oilfield reactors.
“We are carrying the strategy of ‘Catacel inside’ across several active spaces driven by the economics of the natural gas boom,” Whittenberger said in his address. “Where fuels cells once were our future, now they comprise our present commercial base while we develop into new and emerging areas of hydrocarbon energy technology.”