The fuel cells market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.47% over the forecast period to reach a market size of US$7,350.389 million in 2026 from US$2,528.202 million in 2019.
A fuel cell features an electrochemical energy conversion mechanism that converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and heat. A fuel cell is similar to a battery in that it can be recharged while power is being drawn from it. But a fuel cell is recharged using hydrogen and oxygen, instead of electricity as in the case of a battery. The basic system includes two electrodes, an anode, and a cathode, divided by an electrolyte. The process of formation of ions (charged particles) at one end of electrodes with the help of a catalyst, which is then passed via the electrolyte, causes the production of power electrochemically. This power can be used for generating electricity. A fuel cell uses chemical reactions instead of a combustion process. A fuel cell is basically small and modular in nature, which makes it perfect for use as a power source in various applications ranging from electric vehicles to grid-connected utility power units Fuel cell technology, with its ability to replace traditional power generating technologies based on combustion methods for stationary and mobile applications, is being promoted as a new clean and green power generation approach.
In an era characterized by rising concerns over greenhouse gases, carbon footprint, and climate change, the technology is steadily gaining popularity by virtue of its ability to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, toxic pollutants, and reliance on imported fuels, and also enhance global energy security. Depleting stocks and rising costs of fossil fuels are triggering concerns over how the world would address future fuel needs in industrial and transportation applications. Multi-fuel fuel cells have lower nitrogen and Sulphur emissions.
Increasing demand for unconventional sources of energy is one of the key factors driving the growth. Growing private-public partnerships and reduced environmental impact are other factors anticipated to propel the demand. Governments across the world are expected to supplement the developments by offering support in various forms, such as funding research activities and suitable financing programs. Developing a robust regulatory and policy framework is especially important as government enterprises need to provide an environment that is suitable for investment. Factors such as flexibility to use different fuels, high efficiency, and utilization of direct current are the key factors expected to propel the demand for stationary fuel cells over the forecast period.
Fuel cells generate energy from fuels such as methanol and natural gas and produce heat and water. The type of fuel required for operations depends not only on the type of the membrane but also on the type of catalyst used in the fuel cell. Some fuel cells based on the proton-exchange membrane (PEM) require pure hydrogen for operations, while others are fuel-flexible, thereby providing ease of operation to users. For instance, phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs), solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), alkaline fuel cells (AFCs), and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) can operate properly without the availability of pure hydrogen. Fuel flexibility refers to the operational capability of these fuel cells that are widely and easily available in conventional or non-conventional fuels. This is projected to present lucrative opportunities for manufacturers in the advances in the fuel cell technology market and encourage advancements even when there is a lack of availability of pure hydrogen.
Fuel cell operations rely highly on hydrogen. Hydrogen infrastructure includes hydrogen production, storage, transportation, and distribution. Once hydrogen is produced, it needs to be distributed. It can be sent to point-of-use either through pipelines or through different means of transportation. The commercial roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles depends on the availability of hydrogen fuel pumps. The US has the largest number of hydrogen refueling stations, which are major centers for fuel cell vehicles. Due to these factors, the country is projected to be the largest market during the forecast period, as well as Japan and Germany will remain favorable markets for fuel cell vehicles. However, other parts of the world lack the infrastructure necessary for the delivery of hydrogen.
The limited infrastructure of hydrogen fueling can impact the future demand for hydrogen generation by fuel cell-powered vehicles. Heavy investment and intensive support by public and private entities would be required to develop hydrogen fueling stations. Thus, the absence of supporting infrastructure prohibits the growth of the hydrogen-based fuel cells technology market at present.
According to IEA, the COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted the addition of renewable power capacity. According to IEA estimates, the number of new renewable power installations worldwide is set to fall in 2020 due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis globally. This marks the first annual decline in 20 years since 2000 for renewable energy capacity addition. The impact of the outbreak on global supply chains will affect hydrogen-based technologies, for which a coordinated supply chain and significant capital are required for the demonstration. According to IEA, current hydrogen demand from oil refining, steel manufacturing, and the chemicals sector has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. According to IEA, gasoline consumption will reduce by 9%, diesel by 6%, and jet fuel by 26% in 2020, while the demand for key chemicals produced using hydrogen (such as methanol) has dropped by 7%.
The increasing demand for fuel cells has led to the entry of several new players in the fuel cells market. Now, to increase their clientele as well as increase their market share in the upcoming years, many of these market players have taken various strategic actions like partnerships and the development of novel solutions, which is expected to keep the market competitive and constantly evolving. Major market players like Ballard Power Systems, FuelCell Energy, Inc., and Hydrogenics have been covered along with their relative competitive strategies, and the report also mentions recent deals and investments of different market players over the last few years. The company profiles section details the business overview, financial performance (public companies) for the past few years, key products and services being offered along with the recent deals and investments of these important players in the fuel cells market.
|Market size value in 2019||US$2,528.202 million|
|Market size value in 2026||US$7,350.389 million|
|Growth Rate||CAGR of 16.47% from 2019 to 2026|
|Forecast Unit (Value)||USD Million|
|Segments covered||Type, Application, And Geography|
|Regions covered||North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific|
|Companies covered||Ballard Power Systems, FuelCell Energy, Inc., Hydrogenics, PLUG POWER INC, Ceres Power Holdings plc, AFC Energy PLC, Altergy, NUVERA FUEL CELLS, LLC, Arcola Energy Limited, Cummins|
|Customization scope||Free report customization with purchase|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What are the growth prospects for the fuel cells market?
A1. The global fuel cells market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.47% over the forecast period.
Q2. What will be the fuel cells market size by 2026?
A2. The fuel cells market is expected to reach a total market size of US$7,350.389 million in 2026.
Q3. What is the size of the global fuel cells market?
A3. Fuel Cells Market was valued at US$2,528.202 million in 2019.
Q4. How is the fuel cells market segmented?
A4. The global fuel cells market has been segmented by type, application, and geography.
Q5. What factors are anticipated to drive the fuel cells market growth?
A5. Increasing demand for unconventional sources of energy is one of the key factors driving the fuel cells market growth.