The global fuel cell market was valued at USD 3.21 billion in 2016. The product’s ability to power various portable device and machines running on batteries, as well as high benefits over the conventional technologies concerning emission, is most likely to propel the fuel cell industry in the upcoming years.
Owing to the strict government regulations in the developed economies such as Europe and U.S., to reduce the emissions coupled with the technological advancements to support the existing electric grids is expected to boost the growth over the forecast period.
High price can be a hindering factor for the market growth. However, rapid technical advancements are being made to cut down the overall cost of the product. Improving durability and reducing cost are the two principal challenges to the product commercialization. Companies are mostly focused on developing new materials to reduce cost and increase efficiency.
The fuel cell market is expected to experience the growth in the number of private-public relationships to provide cost efficiency and facilitate a suitable platform for a technological shift. Reorganizing the businesses along with the mergers & acquisitions are the key strategies adopted by industry players to develop the end users.
Although the configurations of the fuel cells are the same, it is classified primarily by electrolyte used which also determines the most suitable application for them. In 2015, PEMFC product segment dominated the global market and accounted for approximately 65% of the total shipments. Broad scope in varied applications such as telecommunications, forklifts, automobile, data centers, backup systems and primary centers has led to the growth of the product in the market.
SOFC does not lose electrolyte owing to its all solid components, which gives it the ability to operate at high temperatures and reduces the need for expensive catalysts. Regarding revenue, the product is most likely to witness the fastest growth rate with the estimated CAGR of over 20% over the forecast period.
Stationary fuel cells such MCFC are the largest and most popular fuel cells. They are designed to supply reliable and clean on-site power. The products are installed in big stationary power plants, which makes them possess thus making them the second largest for installed capacity.
Stationary hydrogen power plants are designed to power banks, hospitals, airports, schools, military bases, and homes, and is anticipated to capture more than 70% of the overall shipments and thereby to emerge as the leading application segment of the industry. Its ability to use various fuels and use of direct current are the significant factors likely to increase the demand for the sector.
The fuel cell can help power the cars with hydrogen replacing the traditional petroleum fuel. Thus, increasing the demand for hydrogen-powered forklifts in the transportation segment. Research and development activities are actively being carried out by manufacturers to bring advancement in the transportation using the fuel cell technologies. However, Hydrogen-powered vehicles are still not so popular among the masses due to high cost and lack of infrastructure. However, growing technological shift and continues advancement in technology is expected to drive the growth of hydrogen powered vehicle industry over the forecast period.
The portable power plant is used in portable products, APU, personal products & consumer goods like mobile phones, laptops, and other portable devices. The demand for this segment is expected to rise mostly for remote power applications.
Due to the strict government regulations in the developed region such as North America, it is most likely to develop as the leading market for fuel cells regarding installed capacity. In 2015, it accounted for about 50% of the global installed capacity and was also predicted to continue the trend over the next six years on account of rapid commercialization and technology adoption of hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles. North America is projected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 25% between 2016 to 2025.
In terms of unit shipment, Asia-Pacific is likely to emerge as the leading sector. Japan is the major participant dealing fuel cells followed by South Korea. Owing to the enormous demand for combined heat and power systems in Japan and many other countries in the region, the segment is expected to register a rapid growth.
European region to provide a slicker technological shift will result in encouraging public-private partnership. This will facilitate Europe to reach their target of emerging low carbon economy and also keep a competitive edge over the fast-growing regions such as Japan, China, etc.
The market is highly consolidated with the top companies accounting for more than 80% of the total market share. Increase in the budget for the research and development as well as continues stimulant for the product, the hydrogen energy is likely to maintain a secure spot in the market.
Mergers and acquisition, strategic alliances, and business reorganizations are some of the key strategies adopted by market players to increase the end-user product in different segments. Samsung, Honda, Toyota, and General Motors are the largest companies in the industry with highest fuel cell patents.
Other enterprises in the segment include Ballard Power Systems, Plug power, Hydrogenics Corporation, SFC Energy AG, Ceramic Fuel Cells, Ltd., etc.
Product Outlook (Volume, Units; Capacity, Mega Watt; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Application Outlook (Volume, Units; Capacity, Mega Watt; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Capacity, Mega Watt; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)
• North America
• Asia Pacific
• South Korea
• Middle East and Africa
• Central & South America
Research Support Specialist, USA