The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global defense fuel cells market for 2017-2021. Technavio presents a detailed picture of the market by way of study, synthesis, and summation of data from multiple sources.
The defense industry is a pioneer in embracing new and advanced technologies. The fuel cell technology is catching up in different applications such as stationary power generation, portable power generation, and power used for transportation. As the technology is still in the development stage, only a few vendors supply vehicles that operate on fuel cells to the military, making defense fuel cells a concentrated market.
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Technavio analysts highlight the following three factors that are contributing to the growth of the global defense fuel cells market:
- Improved performance with high torque and low revolutions
- Low acoustic effects
- Use of fuel cells as environmentally viable energy-on-demand solution
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Improved performance with high torque and low revolutions
Despite the limited availability of infrastructure for fuel cells compared to fossil-fuel powered drivetrains, fuel cells project a higher efficiency of about 60% to 80%. As conventional vehicles do not carry out complete fuel combustion, the efficiency of the vehicle drops compared to the conventional IC engine.
Avimanyu Basu, a lead defense technology research analyst at Technavio, says, “Fuel cells provide copious quantities of torque at low revolutions, which helps to increase the performance of the vehicle. In conventional IC engines, a higher number of revolutions is required to attain an equivalent torque. As fuel cells generate both electricity and heat, the efficiency of the fuel tank is close to 80%.”
Low acoustic effects
Fuel cells undergo the hydrolysis process, wherein fuel and oxygen act as electrodes and are passed through the electrolyte to produce electricity. This triggers the electrolysis process, leading to the generation of electricity. As this process does not involve combustion, the sound produced during the running of the vehicle is comparatively lower than that of diesel vehicles.
In situations of war, emergencies, and military missions, diesel clutter affects the stealth operations of the vehicle. To ensure effective stealth operations even in harsh conditions, the defense sector has collaborated with various stakeholders to focus on the design and manufacturing of military fuel cells that are tailored for military vehicles and can operate with low acoustic signature.
Use of fuel cells as environmentally viable energy-on-demand solution
Conventional vehicles are powered by the energy that is generated from the combustion of non-renewable resources. When a diesel vehicle runs at low power, there is enough oxygen to burn the fuel. As most military vehicles run at high power, there is an inadequate amount of oxygen to burn the fuel effectively. This leads to incomplete combustion of the fuel, which lowers the efficiency of the fuel used during the combustion process.
“The combustion of petroleum-based products releases harmful byproducts such as carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen, nitrogen oxide, opaque dark colored smoke, soot, aerosols, sulfate, silicate, greenhouse gases, and so on. These gases cause many health-related issues to people in the surrounding areas,” says Avimanyu.
- Neah Power Systems
- General Motors
- SFC Energy
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