Fuel cells, an electrochemical energy conversion device, converts chemical hydrogen and oxygen into water. Fuel cells produces electricity during the process of conversion. The battery also works with the electrochemical principle, wherein all the chemicals stored inside are converted into electricity. However, the battery goes dead eventually; it needs to be recharged for further usage. Here, what hydrogen fuel cells overcome the advantage. Chemicals constantly flow into the fuel cells. As a result, it does not go dead as long as chemicals flow into the cells. Hydrogen and oxygen are the common elements used as chemicals in fuel cells. Fuel cells is used as an alternate fuel in automobiles. It is also used in power generation and portable power systems. Government initiatives, especially in developed countries, and increase in awareness about clean energy are the key factors anticipated to drive the fuel cells market during the forecast period. However, high switching cost of technology, followed by lack of infrastructure related to fuel cells, may hamper market growth.
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Based on type, the hydrogen fuel cells market can be classified into Polymer Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC), Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC), and others(includes alkaline fuel cells, Phosphoric-acid fuel cell etc.). In terms of application, the fuel cells market can be divided into stationary, portable, and transport.
PEMFC dominated the hydrogen fuel cells market in 2015. This trend is anticipated to continue during the forecast period. It is a highly preferred type of transport applications such as cars and buses. High power density and relatively low operating temperature are the major factors estimated to propel the demand for PEMFC during the forecast period.
The stationary application segment accounted for major share of the market in 2015. Increase in backup power installation in commercial and residential buildings is estimated to be the key factor driving the segment. However, the transport application segment is expected to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period. Rise in research & development activities related to the use of fuel cells as alternative source of energy in automobiles and increase in awareness about the usage of clean energy are the prominent factors expected to drive the fuel cells market during the forecast period.
In terms of region, Asia Pacific dominated the hydrogen fuel cells market in 2015. The market in the region is anticipated to expand at a faster pace compared to the market in other regions. Increase in usage of fuel cells in Japan and South Korea in the hybrid car market, favorable government policies, and stringent environmental norms related to vehicle emissions are the prominent factors estimated to augment the fuel cells market during the forecast period. North America, followed by Europe, is another lucrative market for fuel cells. The market in North America is projected to expand significantly during the forecast period. Implementation of a subsidy on the purchase of hybrid vehicles and tax incentives scheme in these regions are projected to propel the fuel cells market during the forecast period.
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The global fuel cells market is highly consolidated; currently, a few players operate in the market. However, the number of manufacturers is expected to increase in the near future. Key players operating in the fuel cells market include Plug Power Inc., SFC Energy AG, AFC Energy PLC, Panasonic Corporation, Hydrogenics, Toshiba Corporation, Nedstack Fuel Cells Technology B.V., and ClearEdge Power.
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