Fuel cell helps to generate electrical energy from chemical energy through an electrochemical process, the chemical is not burned therefore it is a source of clean fuel. The fuel cell technology industry is expected to witness significant growth on account of the rising need for alternative energy sources and zero-emission energy. An increase in demand for clean energy and large investments related to hydrogen storage infrastructure development is fuelling the growth of this industry. To promote the use of clean and green energy government has invested heavily in the exploration of this technology and has made strict government regulations to protect the environment which has propelled the demand.
The conventional battery cannot store more energy and need continuous replacement. The energy density of non-conventional cells is more than the conventional battery; this makes it a better environment-friendly option. The growing need to derive energy from a renewable source to save the conventional resources and increasing concern for environmental protection is expected to propel the demand for the forecast period. Platinum and Ruthenium Alloy are catalysts used to convert chemical energy to electrical energy through an electrochemical reaction. These catalysts are costly which increases the installation cost making the installation costs and to store more energy more cells are required which is a challenge for this industry.
This technology for vehicles is gaining importance globally due to its uniqueness and environment-friendly nature. The technology can generate all vehicle types such as heavy-duty, power forklifts, passenger, and airport tugs. A decrease in oil consumption by the vehicles is need of the hour and this technology is the solution that makes it a golden market to explore. Major automobile companies are launching new cars which work on this technology such as Toyota has launched Mira, Honda which has launched Clarity, Mercedes which is researching cars powered by these non-conventional batteries. Advancement in hydrogen storage know-how is another opportunity that is yet to be explored; it is expected to increase the stationary power, portable power, and transportation of power.
The global fuel cell technology industry is segmented based on applications such as transportation, portable, and stationary applications. Furthermore, it is segmented based on technology such as Direct Methanol, Polymer/Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM), Molten Carbonate, Phosphoric Acid, and Solid Oxide. The technology is growing rapidly with multiple benefits such as it has portable applications such as a non-conventional battery can be used for devices such as laptop, mobiles, and cameras as a rechargeable battery. Portable fuel cells are expected to augment or replace battery technology and use either DMFC or PEM.
Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) are extensively used across the globe, its power to area ratio (absorbs more power per unit area) is higher which makes it ideal to produce more energy when compared to others. North America and Europe are the key contributor in this market owing to awareness to protect the environment and encouragement from the government to use and harness clean energy. Asia-Pacific is expected to have significant growth for the forecast period owing to the largest value-generating region for these cells, with Japan and South Korea being the major countries driving the market. In the Middle East and African region, the market is growing at a slower rate due to lesser awareness, although the Middle East and African regions comprise the future markets for this technology, these markets are considered as major emerging markets.
Key players in this industry are Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd., AFC Energy, Bloom Energy, Ballard Power Systems Inc., Ceres Power Holdings PLC, Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited, Fuelcell Energy, Doosan Corporation, Kyocera, Hydrogenics Corporation, and Plug Power Inc. In January 2016, Fuelcell Energy a leader in manufacturing, designing, operation, and service of clean energy has announced to install a plant of 5.6-megawatt power generation plant for Pfizer Inc. world’s largest biopharmaceutical company to provide reliable and low carbon electricity. This power plant will be built by using this knowledge to produce clean and green energy.
In January 2016, Bloom Energy announced the first-ever high-rise project for producing clean and green energy at Morgan Stanley's global headquarter. This project will operate using this technology and is expected to produce 750 KW. In October 2015, Doosan Corporation Fuel Cell has inked a deal to manufacture 70 Power Plants for South Korean utilities. This will provide clean power for 71000 South Korean homes. In August 2015, Ballard Power Systems provides clean energy products at low cost and helps customers in solving challenges related to the fuel cell, acquired Protonex Technology Corporation a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced power management products. This acquisition will help in increasing the product offering by adding power management products and portable devices using these cells.
Research Support Specialist, USA
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