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With increasingly stricter emissions standards on fossil based fuels, the limitations in battery technology and national energy security considerations, the future of fuel cells looks increasingly bright, and therefore also for Cell Impact.

To estimate the size of the fuel cell market is difficult. This is due to the lack of publicly available data in regards to manufacturing output and sales data. Some data includes the addressable market as defined by individual fuel cell manufacturers and these may include the total value of a bundled product offering.

There are a number of market analysts attempting to estimate the size of the fuel cell market but the estimates rarely correlate – the range between the lowest and the highest market value estimate is large. Cell Impact has chosen to lean on data from the United States Department of Energy (DOE), which we feel is appropriate at this point in time.

According to DOE the fuel cell market is estimated at USD 2.0 – 3.0 billion in 2015

THE GROWTH IN THE FUEL CELL MARKET BETWEEN 2014 AND 2015:

  • Megawatts of fuel cells shipped worldwide grew by 65%
  • Fuel cell systems shipped worldwide grew by 20%

FUEL CELLS HAVE SEVERAL DIFFERENT AREAS OF APPLICATION:

  • Fuel cells for vehicles, which in turn can be divided into the categories of heavy duty and light weight vehicles. The fuel cells can serve as the sole propellant or act as range extenders when combined with batteries
  • Stationary fuel cells that are used to produce electricity and heating
  • Portable fuel cells that produce electricity for e.g. mobile homes and boats, as well as for military applications and antenna stations

The future of fuel cell market

To date, stationary fuel cells have been the largest segment, but now vehicle applications are expected to grow more rapidly. The US market for fuel cells is the most mature market followed by Japan and Germany.

The fuel cell market has considerable growth potential. Most growth will likely be experienced in Asia, where China is experiencing growth in the stationary and heavy vehicles segments. China is supporting the adaption of fuel cell technology through substantial government subsidies. In Japan, the trend for stationary fuel cells is expected to be strong when nuclear power is replaced by alternative energy sources and greater energy security is sought. Further, leading auto manufacturers have announced initiatives concerning fuel cell powered vehicles.

The fuel cell market grows sufficiently to trigger a shift from low volume manufacturing to higher volumes and improved manufacturing costs.

Trends in favor of Cell Impacts technology and product offering

CELL IMPACT SEES THE FOLLOWING DISTINCT TRENDS IN FUEL CELL DEVELOPMENT:

  • Growing volumes in the industrial mobility segment – e.g. material handling equipment for warehouse operations, and other applications in captive markets
  • Greater focus on cost effectiveness due to increasing volumes
  • A transition from graphite plates to metal plates to reduce the cost per plate, weight and size of the fuel cell stack, in particular in China
  • A need to form more advanced patterns to achieve greater power density in the fuel cells, which also serves to reduce the cost, volume and weight of the fuel cell
  • The need to invest in integrated and automated manufacturing lines to meet the increasing market demand and cost targets, and a greater need for know-how about manufacturing processes