Fuel cell helps to generate electrical energy from chemical energy through 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 rising need for alternative energy sources and zero emission energy. Increase in demand of clean energy and large investments related to hydrogen storage infrastructure development are fuelling the growth of this industry. To promote use of clean and green energy government has invested heavily on exploration of this technology and has made strict government regulation to protect the environment which has propelled the demand.
Conventional battery cannot store more energy and need continuous replacement. The energy density of non-conventional cell is more than the conventional battery; this makes it a better environment friendly option. Growing need to derive energy from renewable source to save the conventional resources and increasing concern for environment protection is expected to propel the demand for the forecast period. Platinum and Ruthenium Alloy are catalyst used to convert the chemical energy to electrical energy through electrochemical reaction. These catalysts are costly which increases the installation cost making the installation costly and to store more energy more cells are required which is a challenge for this industry.
This technology for vehicle is gaining importance globally due to its uniqueness and environment-friendly nature. The technology has the ability to generate all vehicle types such as heavy duty, power forklifts, passenger, and airport tugs. Decrease in oil consumption by the vehicles is need of the hour and this technology is the solution which makes it a golden market to explore. Major automobile companies are launching new cars which work on this technology such Toyota has launched Mira, Honda has launched Clarity, Mercedes is doing research on 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 on the basis of applications such as transportation, portable, and stationary applications. Furthermore, it is segmented on the basis of 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 non-conventional battery can be used for devices such as laptop, mobiles and camera 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) these 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 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 Middle East and African region, the market is growing at a slower rate due to lesser awareness, although 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 global head quarter. This project will operate using this technology and expected to produce 750 KW. In October 2015, Doosan Corporation Fuel Cell has inked deal to manufacture 70 Power Plants for South Korean utility. 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 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 product and portable devices using these cells.
Research Support Specialist, USA