CAMBRIDGE, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Against the background of contentious debates around the world in relation to the environmental impact and costs of shale gas production, hydrogen fuel cells cars are being seen with new hope.
Companies like Toyota, GM and Daimler supported by Shell and Total, have announced the launch of their fuel cell models in California in 2015 (Toyota) however other companies such as Volkswagen have stated that they do not see a future for fuel cell cars. Tesla and Nissan don’t place high bets on fuel cell cars (particularly Tesla), even considering that Nissan has a foothold in ICE, electric and fuel cell cars.
In the USA, 39% of the shale gas was produced there against China’s 1% in 2013 according to US DOE. There is a perception that shale production will bring cheap gas prices which will produce cheap hydrogen as fuel. The main source of industrial hydrogen comes from natural gas reformation.
A recent comment by Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (US shale gas and tight oil industry performance challenges and opportunities, OIES March 2014) casts doubts on the cost efficiency of shale gas production in the USA and definitively in Europe. The study argues that since the shale boom began, related write-downs by several of the largest shale players are now approaching $35 billion. Many players in the industry have already noted that the revolution is not as technically and financially attractive as they expected and could take decades before a similar business can develop outside North America.
If the shale industry does not validate its business model, the idea of cheap gas (therefore cheap hydrogen for fuel cell cars) won’t be attractive, and once again fuel cell cars will remain the car of the future.
Fuel cell cars are still too expensive because of the platinum required in fuel cells and other components’ price. Fuel cell car prices have now reached approximately 100,000USD. At this level they still have a long way to catch up in price to compete for mass adoption.
Fuel cells have totally different value propositions for local energy generation, grid demand response and related applications. IDTechEx’s report Hydrogen and Fuel Cells 2014-2025: Forecasts, Technologies, Markets www.IDTechEx.com/fuel will provide you with the analysis required to further understand the market.
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