Fuel cell is a type of substitute of energy where it is commercialized into micro cogeneration & heat production, and backup power for telecom towers. Fuel cell technology has bright future as it offers more applicability and consistency than other alternatives like wind and sun.
The function of a fuel cell is to generate an electrical current that can be directed outside the cell for work, such as powering an electric motor or enlightening a light bulb. According to the way electricity performs, this current gets back to the fuel cell, completing an electrical circuit.
Fuel cell is a type of battery which produces electricity from an electrochemical reaction. It uses an external supply which performs constantly as long as it supplies hydrogen and oxygen. In the procedure of oxidation, hydrogen by making chemical reaction with oxygen and release water which is used in the process where electrons are released and therefore produce electric current.
The application of fuel cell technology is divided into various diameters. In transportation Proton exchange membrane fuel cells and alkaline fuel cells are used for application such as buses, cars, and APUs. In stationary, Proton exchange membrane fuel cells, molten carbonate fuel cells, Solid oxide fuel cells, and alkaline fuel cells are used for application such as backup power, residential power and DG. In Portable, Direct methanol fuel cells and alkaline fuel cells are used to deliver profits to the application such as battery chargers, sensors, portable power unit, cameras, and mobiles among others.
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Advantages/ Driving Factors:
Fuel cells have a greater effectiveness than diesel or gas engines.
Almost all fuel cells work quietly, compared to internal combustion engines. This factor has led the growth of adopting fuel cell technology within buildings like hospitals.
Fuel cells can decrease pollution created by burning fossil fuels; for hydrogen fuelled fuel cells, the only by-product at point of use is water.
Fuel cells do not need traditional fuels such as oil or gas and can hence decrease economic dependency on oil producing countries, generating greater energy security.
The application of stationary fuel cells to produce power at the point of use allows for a decentralized power grid that has power to become more stable.
Low temperature fuel cells (PEMFC, DMFC) have low heat transmission which is perfect for military applications.
Higher temperature fuel cells produce high-grade process heat along with electricity and are suitable for cogeneration applications. These factors are benefiting the market growth of fuel cell technology.
The only disadvantage of the fuel cells associated with the cost. Fuel cell technology is extremely expensive compared to other energy systems technology. This factor is hugely restraining the adoption of fuel cell technology.
The primary growth drivers of Global Fuel cell technology market includes rising public private relationships, increasing prices of crude oil and high demand for fuel cells from applications such as power suppliers, automobile, residential builders and electronic companies.
However, Policies of European government which would bring high opportunities in fuel cell technology market in the region are pending to approve and thus obstructing the growth of the Fuel cell technology market.
Fuel Cell Technology – Segmentation:
Segmentation by Fuel types: Hydrogen, Natural gas/ Methane, Methanol, Anaerobic Digester gas and others.
Segmentation by Method: Polymer/ Proton exchange membrane, Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC),Molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFC), Phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC), Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC), Alkaline fuel cells (AFC),Direct carbon fuel cells (DCFC), Zinc air fuel cells (ZAFC),Protonic ceramic fuel cells (PCFC), Microbial fuel cells (MFC) and others.
Segmentation by Applications: Stationary, Transportation, Portable,
Electronics and others.
Segmentation by Country: Germany, United Kingdom, Rest of Europe.
Fuel Cell Technology- Competitive Analysis:
AFC Energy: AFC energy, a leading fuel cell power company has announced in 2014 that it is going to sign a new co-operation agreement in Bangkok to accelerate adoption of fuel cell systems in upcoming projects in Thailand. AFC Energy’s POWER-UP project established the world’s biggest operational alkaline fuel cell system at Air Products’ industrial gas plant in Stade, Germany.
Recently General Motors (GM) and Honda have broadcasted an agreement to co-develop ‘next-generation’ fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies, with a planned deadline of 2020. The association means the two companies will share expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies.
Other than these there are companies like Heliocentris (Germany), Topsoe (Denmark) and Genport SRL (Italy) are some of the European companies manufacturing fuel cells for various applications.
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Fuel Cell Technology – Regional Analysis:
Europe is primarily predominating this fuel cell market. Following are the countries which are majorly contributing in the growth of this market.
Europe is fastest growing region in fuel cell technology market which creates a roadmap of reducing discharge of carbon di oxide by more than 80% by 2050. To attain the target Europe is planning to improve the infrastructure and reducing the cost of the fuel cells. It is estimated that European Fuel Cell market will grow at a CAGR of more than 70% during the forecasted period 2015-2027.
Germany is another leading country in Fuel cell technology market. Universities, research institutes, R&D are taking advantages of fuel cell market to study and do business. German Fuel cell technology market is predictable to grow with a CAGR of more than 70% during the forecasted period 2015-2027. Germany accounts for more than 70% fuel cell installations in Europe due to huge government support. Some major market players are Siemens, Opel, and Daimler Chrysler, among others.
United Kingdom (UK):
UK is the evolving and active country in fuel cell technology market. UK Fuel cell technology market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 25% in the forecasted period 2015-2027. At present, UK transfers more than 50% of the fuel cell products to other countries. The Government of UK has initiated Renewable Heat Incentives which includes provisions for CHP units and aerobic digestion to produce biogas for heat production.
Other regions include North America, Asia Pacific which has countries like China, Japan and India which has the maximum necessity of fuel cell technology. Middle East is also booming to take crucial part in the fuel cell technology market.
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