The worldwide Automotive Fuel Cell Market was valued over 5, 000 units in 2015. It can grow at close to 13% CAGR during the forecast period (2016-2024). The industry should achieve over 10, 850 units by 2024. Rise in fuel cell vehicles or FCVs due to awareness regarding pollution would propel market sales till 2024.
Fuel cell vehicles are also referred to as fuel cell electric vehicles or FCEVs. Hydrogen is mainly used to run FCEVs. More than 80 million hydrogen tons are manufactured each year to meet the voracious demand of the FCEV industry. Therefore, developments in hydrogen infrastructure should positively influence the market.
Awareness regarding pollution & its injurious effects will be the key industry propeller. High costs in comparison to other zero emission automobiles execute a primary role in buying decisions. Shortage of infrastructure for storing, manufacturing, and supplying hydrogen is likely to prevent market flow.
Biogas, hydrocarbons, hydrogen, and natural gas constitute few energies used in FCs. This aids reduce air-contamination, as hydrogen in amalgamation with oxygen, produces water. A fuel cell (FC) has two electrodes; the cathode and anode. It enables the conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy via electromechanical reactions. Liquid electrolytes transfer electrically charged elements from one electrode to another. These activities increase the speed of chemical reactions in the cell.
Automotive fuel cells are one of the most viable technologies that are capable of long-term reduction in ‘carbon dioxide’ emissions from vehicles. Additionally, these cells are not dependent on conventional fuels, balancing trade-scarcity across developing economies. This stimulates product demand.
Transportation sector contributed one-third of the overall carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. alone in 2015. The same added to pre-existing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. FCEV adoption can help prevent tailpipe pollution. Moreover, fuel cells are safe & reliable due to the absence of combustion during energy generation. They have longer life-span owing to their being subjected to minimum corrosion probabilities & high operating temperatures. This lowers the maintenance costs of vehicles. Investments in research & developments should produce business revenues. These may also raise employment prospects.
Conversely, high costs associated with AF cells are anticipated to prevent market growth. Less or no technological advancements would also restrain industry flow. Additionally, shortage of clean & cheap hydrogen hinders the industry. The Automotive Fuel Cell Market is split by applications and geographies. FC buses, light-duty vehicles, and material handling constitute the former. Light-duty vehicles were responsible for over 50% consumption in 2015. They will continue likewise till 2024.
Many automotive firms have started running fuel cell programs. The same has led to technological developments. Industry expansion is also credited to decreasing product costs and technological innovations. Material handling applications would register around 15% CAGR in the coming years. Product employment across airports, distribution centers, and inventory administration may generate segment revenues.
Lesser operating & maintenance expenses associated with automotive fuel cells should positively affect the industry. These expenses are ascribed to very few moving parts in the systems. Hydrogen fuel is growingly being adopted in applications; like back-up power, buses, & forklifts.
This fuel will also spread across cell phones & some other gadgets. This spread may be credited to low system vibration of hydrogen fuel cells, which is estimated to augment market growth in the forecast period.
Geographies in the Automotive Fuel Cell Market encompass North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East & Africa (the MEA). Asia Pacific led with respect to demand, exceeding 60% of the overall volumes in 2015. It is anticipated to display considerable expansion.
The same could result from its supportive governmental regulations on product endorsements. Europe could attract a lot of attention over the forecast period. To sell and endorse industry technology, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contributed over USD 7 million in 2013. Receiving steady support from U.S. DOE, national labs, and private firms; the market has massively advanced in the past. The new ‘Honda Clarity Fuel Cell’ has received a U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) driving range rating of 589 kms and fuel economy rating of 68 miles per gallon. It is the first FC car to incorporate an entire drive-train under its hood.
When compared to ‘Honda FCX Clarity,’ it has made fuel stack more compact by 33% and boosted the power density by 60%. This improvement has contributed in making its cabin more spacious, accommodating up to five people. Moreover, the car offers a driving range that is at par with other conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.
Toyota; together with Hino Motors, Limited (Hino); will launch FC buses under Toyota brand early 2017. It considers hydrogen adoption for the production of future energy sources. FC buses provide better energy-efficiency and superior eco-performance over internal combustion engines. They use high-capacity external power supply, enabling them to be adopted as power sources in disasters.
Post several field tests being conducted, the Bureau of Transportation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government planned to adopt two FC buses on fixed bus routes. The company decided to introduce over100 buses in Tokyo after Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS) was developed for Mirai FCV. In 2015, Mirai was the said company’s first commercial FC car on sale. Toyota also planned on making around 2, 000 more cars in the coming year.
These cars are capable of travelling nearly 300 miles on a single hydrogen tank, which can be refueled in just about three minutes. The four-door Sedan’s stack combines hydrogen gas with oxygen to produce electricity; powering the car, expelling clean water vapor in the process.
Alstom, a French rail-equipment manufacturer unveiled its first FCEV train at the InnoTrans railroad-industry show in Berlin. The train is expected to be serviceable in Germany by end 2017. The global Automotive Fuel Cell Market is highly competitive and characterized by big players and small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Key firms comprise Toshiba, Panasonic, Ballard, and Plug Power Inc. They indulge in strategic collaborations and product developments to gain shares and extend their rea
Research Support Specialist, USA