Fuel cell electrolyte market size is anticipated to witness significant growth from 2016 to 2023. The surge in the industry can be attributed to the increasing demand for fuel cells. Attributes such as fuel efficient, economical prices along distributed power generation offered by these cells are likely to drive industry demand. Fuel cell usage is expected to exceed 700 MW by 2020.
The global fuel cell electrolyte market can be segregated into proton-conducting membrane, caustic potash solution, concentrated phosphoric acid, molten carbonate and ceramic. Proton-conducting membrane electrolyte is essentially used in direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) and polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Proliferating application of these fuel cells in vehicles, small appliances, block-type heat, small generators, block type heat and power stations are anticipated to drive the industry demand.
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Caustic potash solution is mainly used in alkaline fuel cells (AFC) market and it majorly used with APC for outer space applications. Concentrated phosphoric acid electrolyte is mainly deployed in phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC) and substantially used in block type heat and power stations applications. Molten carbonate electrolyte is used in molten carbon fuel (MCFC) and plays a vital role in numerous applications such as combined heat & power and power plants. Furthermore, ceramic electrolytes are significantly used in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and it is greatly used in combined heat & power as well as power plants applications.
Alkali fuel cells are likely to be the most updated, efficient and affordable technology. This can be segregated into static electrolytes and flowing electrolytes. Increasing demand of these fuel cells is estimated to boost caustic potash electrolyte market growth over the forecast period. In addition, high conductivity along with capability to operate at lower temperature offered by these cells is projected to boost the industry demand.
Flourishing need for portable fuel cells is estimated to escalate the demand for SOFC. These cells have tendency to produce electricity by directly oxidising the fuel. Benefits offered by this cell encapsulate fuel efficiency; lasting stability along with fuel flexibility. In addition, attributes such as biomass utilization coupled with low emission rates are forecast to positively impact the industry demand. This in turn might boost the industry demand for ceramic and solid oxide electrolytes.
Fuel cells are expected to gain its significance in variety of applications such as military, portable products, transport, aircrafts and generators among others over the several forth coming years. Conversely, high operating temperatures of these cells might hamper the industry demand. Molten carbonate electrolyte is mainly used in fuel cell kits having high as much as 300 KV to 2.8 MV energy production capacities. Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells utilize water-based acidic polymer membrane as an electrolyte, to perform the operation. These cells offer high power density and occupy fewer volumes.
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In addition, it requires less warm up time, operates at relatively lower temperature and offers better durability. The aforementioned factors are forecast to propel the industry demand for polymer membrane electrolyte over the several upcoming years. Increasing application of these cells in materials handling and light duty vehicles can be subjected to the properties furnished by the cells. Growing awareness regarding energy efficient, pollution reduction and green technologies is likely to provide huge potential growth.
Key industry participants occupying major fuel cell electrolyte market share include Fuel Cell Energy, SOFC Power, Novofuel, Ultra Electronics Ami, Delphi, Aisin Seiki, Hexis, Aquafairy , Watt Fuel Cell, ACAL Energy, Danthem Power, Symbio FCell, Baxi Innotech, Oorja Protonics, Ceres Power Holdings, EnergyOr, H2 Logic, Infinitium Fuel Cell Systems, Acumentrics, Ceramic Fuel Cells, Intelligent Energy, Electro Power Systems and Protonex Technology among others.
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