The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global fuel cell market for 2016-2020. The report discusses the major drivers influencing market growth and the challenges faced by vendors and the market.
The supportive government policies, especially in countries like the US, member countries of the EU, the UK, China, Japan, and South Korea for technologies powered by alternate fuel sources, which have a less detrimental impact on the environment, have boosted the growth of the market. Each country has provided consistent funding support for the R&D of fuel cell technologies as they are potential alternatives to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.
For instance, in the EU market, fuel cells and hydrogen have been heavily supported by providing funding for R&D as it enhances the energy security, improves energy sustainability, and encourages competitiveness by creating jobs through innovations in the automotive sector.
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Technavio energy analysts highlight the following three factors that are contributing to the growth of the global fuel cell market:
- Need to control emissions in transportation sector
- Flexibility in use of fuels
- Growing demand for efficient and cleaner technologies
Need to control emissions in transportation sector
Auto regulators worldwide have been setting targets to control their emissions as the transport sector accounts for about a quarter (23%) of global energy-related GHG emissions; these mainly involve the release of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxide (SOx), hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particle matter (PM). Various regions and countries are setting different regulations, but the overall message and targets are clear — that the automobile industry needs to limit the amount of emissions it produces drastically.
Thanikachalam Chandrasekaran, a lead power analyst at Technavio, says, “A long-term solution to the problem of emissions may well be the electric vehicle, hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells. Green energy generation uses renewable resources as the raw material to generate energy, reducing GHG emissions in the process.”
Flexibility in use of fuels
Due to their high operating temperature of 1,472°F-1,832°F, SOFCs can run on almost any fuel to generate electricity. Emerging fuels such as syngas, pure and impure hydrogen, and biofuels can be used to operate SOFCs. They can also tolerate fossil fuel impurities such as ammonia and chlorides, allowing these devices to have a wider application area. For instance, NASA has switched from using AFC to SOFC for its space missions, as the latter offers higher fuel flexibility. Moreover, since NASA space missions now take longer and require high operational efficiency with the use of specialized fuel, it has become even more important to use SOFC.
Growing demand for efficient and cleaner technologies
The growing demand for electricity, as well as the awareness about using cleaner energy forms, is driving the market for energy storage applications such as fuel cells. Climate change mitigation techniques involve using cleaner fuels to produce electricity. Fuel cells are regarded as an efficient and reliable technology that can generate power and supply heat where necessary. Fuel cells are scalable in nature, as they can be used for backup and primary power in off-grid networks while their capacity can range from kilowatts to megawatts to supply power to facilities such as warehouses and data centers.
“Power in fuel cells is produced through an electrochemical reaction and does not involve any combustion process to convert fuel to electricity. Depending on the fuel sources, emissions can only be zero or nearly zero. These emissions too are not harmful ones such as nitrous oxide or particulate matter but primarily take the form of water and heat,” adds Thanikachalam.
- Ballard Power Systems
- Bloom Energy
- Nuvera Fuel Cells
- SFC Energy
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