Yesterday, I had the pleasure of communicating with Jennifer Gangi (@fuelcellgirl) who is the FCS&EE spokesperson for the upcoming Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition (November 7-9, 2017 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California).
As I will be attending this year, I was curious about several aspects of the upcoming Seminar including:
HK: I was interested to learn on the Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition (fuelcellseminar.com) website that the first seminar actually took place from June 29 – July 1, 1976 at The Hyatt Rickey’s in Palo Alto, CA (when I will still in high school). What is your understanding of how this conference changed over the years?
JG: The conference used to be every year from 1976 until 1983, then went to every other year for a few cycles, then one year back-to-back, then back to every other year until 2002. My first Fuel Cell Seminar was in 2000 in Portland, Oregon, and back then, the technology was still pre-commercial in many markets. The Seminar was divided up into two tracks, Research and Development/Technical and Commercialization. As the industry has grown, and products are making big impacts in various market sectors, the conference has evolved to reflect that transition. The Exhibit Hall has definitely changed over the years, with manufacturers now exhibiting at end-user shows, resulting in many more component and services companies exhibiting at the Seminar. We are excited this year to have some manufacturers back on the show floor.
HK: The 2014 and 2015 Seminar’s took place in the Los Angeles area. Has the Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition found a home here?
JG: California has long played a pivotal role in growing the fuel cell and hydrogen industry from a laboratory concept to a marketplace presence, so it makes a lot of sense to hold this industry event there. Thanks in part to strong leadership, innovative policies and committed government agencies; California leads the world in fuel cell vehicle sales, stationary fuel cell installations, hydrogen fueling stations, and fuel cell bus deployment. Other states, as well as countries, look to California as a model for America and the rest of the world. The Seminar had two good years in Los Angeles. Long Beach was chosen because it is close to Los Angeles, which is a relatively easy place to get to from most parts of the world, yet has an entirely different feel. Everything is in close proximity so this year’s attendees can walk from hotel to Convention Center and then easily walk to restaurants, bars, shops, even the beach. Long Beach is also home to a hydrogen fueling station as well as the Port of Long Beach, which is involved in demonstration projects of heavy-duty fuel cell-powered drayage trucks and other vehicles with the U.S. Department of Energy and several different companies.
HK: What is the biggest surprise that attendees can look forward to in coming to the 2017 Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition?
JG: This year’s Seminar includes attendees, presenters and exhibitors from 35 countries, which makes it a truly international event. There are many first time companies exhibiting this year, which is very exciting, as it shows the potential for supply chain and other companies have in entering the fuel cell and hydrogen industry. We are excited to showcase a Class 8 truck from TransPower and there are many talks focused on heavy-duty applications such as trucks and buses, which is a new area and big potential market for fuel cells and hydrogen. The Plenary Sessions include many high-level officials from federal and state government, as well as top industry representatives such as Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh. The utility sector is well-represented with speakers from Edison Electric Institute and Southern Company, and we have a few customers and industrial gas companies speaking as well.
The Tuesday H2@Scale session is an exciting addition as energy storage and hydrogen for grid stabilization is of international interest and the Supply Chain Exchange event will provide great opportunities for integrators and suppliers.
Well, there you have it. There’s a lot to look forward to in this year’s Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition. Many thanks to Jennifer Gangi for taking the time to discuss this with me. And I look forward to roaming around the Long Beach Convention Center, in less than 2 weeks, with my camera and notepad and checking out what all the Seminar has to offer!