This research report titled ‘Global Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) Market 2016-2020’, provides an in-depth analysis of market growth in terms of revenue and emerging market trends. This report projects market shares for key segments that include, portable, transportation, and stationary applications.
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“The imminent need to save energy and high adoption of green technology by many countries is driving the global DMFC market. At present, governments worldwide are taking several initiatives, in terms of investments in R&D for increasing energy efficiency and reducing consumption. As a result, there is an increasing focus on energy-efficient products for energy generation and storage, including fuel cells. This trend is leading a growing awareness among consumers about the use of DMFCs,” said Vishu Rai, one of Technavio’s lead analysts for energy storage research.
Global DMFC market by geography 2015
Top three segments of the global direct methanol fuel cell market:
- Portable sector
- Transportation and logistics application
- General construction
Portable sector: largest contributor to the global direct methanol fuel cell market
In 2015, DMFC shipments for portable application were close to 1,821 units, and it is likely to reach 9,738 units by 2020. DMFC is an ideal technology for portable energy applications due to the following reasons:
- Use of methanol as a fuel that enables rapid refilling
- DMFC's capability to operate at low temperatures
- Higher energy density of DMFC compared to other batteries
The military sector is a key emerging area for portable power DMFC applications. The defense industry's demand for lightweight, portable power solutions that reduces the weight carried by a soldier majorly drives its adoption in the military. DMFC is used to power on-board communication systems, sensors, and provide continuous power for weapon systems during independent missions. In addition, these devices help charge batteries that supply power to equipment.
Conventional batteries have been used to power soldiers' equipment, but these are rendered insufficient during long missions. Hence, soldiers need to carry additional batteries, leading to a compromise on space for their ammunition and other essential supplies.
DMFC produces reliable power and also reduces the need for additional batteries on a multi-day mission. As DMFC overcomes these problems, it has replaced conventional batteries in these application areas.
Transportation and logistics: second largest contributor to the global direct methanol fuel cell market
DMFC is an ideal power source for small vehicles such as forklifts and tuggers and is also used indirectly in large vehicles as battery chargers. As a fuel cell, DMFC offers similar operations and benefits as that provided by a hydrogen-powered fuel cell in material handling equipment.
DMFCs are expected to have faster refill times, long running times, and high productivity. The technology is promising as it helps reduce battery replacement time in material handling. In a battery-powered forklifts require battery replacements from time to time.
However, when a DMFC is used, the refueling process is quick. This makes the forklift available for operations for longer durations and eventually leads to a reduction in fleet size, thus saving capital costs for end-users. When used as a hybrid in the forklift, DMFC trickle charges the battery while in operation or when it is parked. Owing to its various benefits, DMFCs will likely witness a greater demand from the transportation and logistics sector during the forecast period.
Global DMFC market by stationary application
Fast refilling, high energy density, and methanol’s capability to reduce harmful emissions such as NOx are some inherent benefits of DMFC. It has resulted in its popular use in stationary applications. Vendors such as Oorja Protonics and SFC Energy have developed off-grid stationary generators that can be used for power security and as surveillance systems to provide backup for telecom towers and military applications. For instance, SFC Energy provides off-grid hybrid energy solution where DMFCs are used along with solar to provide power. Using DMFC also eliminates the need to invest in large and heavy batteries for emergency backup.
Base transmission telecom stations in developing countries are often located in areas where there is limited access to grid power and the electricity grid infrastructure is underdeveloped. Hence, the market is witnessing a robust demand for clean, reliable, off-grid power solutions to overcome this electricity problem and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In the future, this need will be wholly met by the use of DMFC to power telecom towers.
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