The fuel cell technology market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32% over the next five years, increasing from a value of approximately $630 million at the beginning of 2013, to reach a total of $2.5 billion by 2018.
A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used.
Fuel cells are different from batteries in that they require a constant source of fuel and oxygen/air to sustain the chemical reaction, they can however produce electricity continually for as long as these inputs are supplied.
Fuel cells are of different types such as proton exchange membrane (PEM), solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) and many more differentiated ones based on the components used and type of reaction taking place within the cell.
Fuel cells are an emerging opportunity with benefits over batteries in terms of quantity of energy stored. In portable applications, fuel cells can be used for devices such as mobile, laptop, camera, etc. These also make good replacements for batteries used in military applications. Fuel cells offer more energy density, an average of 400% more than batteries, which mean higher energy in the same weight.
Ballard (Canada), Ceramic Fuel Cell (Australia), FuelCell Energy (US), Hydrogenics , PlugPower (US), SFC Energy(Germany) are the major players constituting almost 58% of the total market for fuel cell technology while the rest 42% is shared by all the remaining companies.
The unit shipments of fuel cells will increase by over fourteen fold from 78,100 in 2012 to 1,127,560 by 2018. Major factors responsible for the growth of fuel cell market include the ability of fuel cells in stationary, portable and transportation applications as a source of off grid power source, zero emission and clean energy source and continuous depletion of existing oil reserves makes.
For more information on the fuel cell technology market, see the latest research: Fuel Cell Technology Market
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