Just home from the world hydrogen congress held this year in Rotterdam and thought the community might be interested in some of the high-level observations as the event goes from strength to strength.
Last year it was Amsterdam and was especially enjoyable because of a buoyant mood caused in no small part by the ending of some lockdown restrictions and which meant delegates were most pleased to be meeting others in the flesh.
This year’s was twice the size which says something about the state of the industry and held at the world trade centre. The venue was full throughout.
Not everything is going smoothly in the world of hydrogen and indeed, offshore wind in the last half of once with a war raging in Europe. Which a few people foresaw at this stage last year, and it will be interesting to see as COP 27 resumes in Sharm el Sheikh next month as to how much progress has been made on the Net Zero agenda.
Nevertheless, Rotterdam offers a chance to assess what had gone well, what has gone less well, and of assess where it where it is at the present.
A few key takeaways that I came across was that projects are starting to move. A couple of my former companies both shell and Eon, involved in the Maasvligte area of the port.
Uniper as the former division of eon is now known is going into front end engineering design a significant sign of commitment for any major project on the site, which was announced during the conference. sessions.
The floor was well attended by the supply chain it was particularly pleasing that we had had some preliminary discussions with key members of the Petrofac team., This year they were evident with a stall and letting the supply chain engage on their own terms and, I gather, encouraged by the interest shown.
As with all these events, it’s interesting is what takes place off the podium as on it and there comments about the hapless Prime Minister in the UK.
Conversations about some of the supply chain in the UK, also took place – where leading companies are perhaps not moved to expand as quickly as anticipated, and those of us who track the tectonics speculated as to who was doing well, and those less so.
My own workshop sessions were also something of a revelation.
Delivering a first ‘eventbrite’ offering around three years ago, perhaps a dozen people signed up for them. Here under the banner of world hydrogen leaders it was standing room only.
It led for a vibrant and interactive session a graphic indication of just how much interest there is around the topics of offshore wind and hydrogen and especially ammonia and hydrogen.
One reason perhaps, the previous day’s announcement of a new facility at Vlissingen just down the coast.
Rotterdam is an attractive and spacious city which has a pleasant atmosphere. Trains run direct to London and Paris and, whereas much 60s architecture has fallen foul of the wrecking ball at home, the Dutch opted for quality and refurbishment making for a quirky retro cool feel to what is Europe’s major port
I was lucky enough to gain a seat at a very entertaining event held in the vast Laurenskirke and a daring gymnastic display from the church roof.
It was a chance to catch up on a table which included two former companies of mine in the form of SSE, and EON and some of the people involved with Maasvligte 2 and gaining traction.
As in South Africa a few weeks ago, engagement is happening and it’s perhaps the industry reaching what Walt Rostow might call a ‘take off’ or tipping point.
So, the financiers are there, the supply chain is there and the developers were there – right in the centre of the World Trade Centre.
That’s not to say that the future of the industry will be linear or straightforward. There will be setbacks of course, every major project has them, but the overall feeling was that the world hydrogen congress of 2022
was a success and with the Americans now setting their own pace, the industry can look forward to continued and sustained growth.
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