STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Fuel cells are viewed as potential candidates for auxiliary power, mobile power, stationary distributed or central power, and portable product power. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are among the most efficient and cost-effective. Although relatively high operating temperature limits the range of applications possible, stationary, mobile, and even portable product configurations are possible.
Advances in the technology have been made, but sometimes these advances reveal even more challenges to be met. Slowly, there is the realization that total dependency on hydrocarbon fuels is not a viable economic option. SOFCs have a part in securing energy security for the country, improving the environment, greatly reducing urban pollution, and creating jobs in manufacturing as the technology advances. They can also provide a cost-effective and performance-driven rival for other fuel cells, batteries, internal combustion engines, and coal- or oil-fired heat engines.
This study analyzes components of the SOFC, a technology offering the promise of greatly reduced environmental impact and excellent performance, price, and efficiency advantages. Recent historic developments and approaches are described along with recent commercial developments and the state of the art.
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
This report can also provide valuable information in terms of assessing investment in particular technologies and, therefore, should benefit investors directly or indirectly. Others may find the broad discussions of energy policy and environmental impact to be of considerable value in understanding the opportunities and problems in the near- to mid-term.
This report is intended to provide a unique analysis of the SOFC market and will be of interest to a variety of current and potential fuel cell users and integrators as well as competing battery, fuel cell, and conventional power generation makers.
BCC Research wishes to thank those companies, government agencies, and university researchers that contributed information for this report.
SCOPE OF REPORT
This report discusses the North American, European, Far Eastern, and Rest-of-World market value. Target markets are based on optimistic, pessimistic, and consensus alternatives. This is compared to the conventional power generation target and peak shifting opportunities. The current market is small, mainly limited to pilot projects or emerging niches. By 2016, these pilots will be expanding into commercial implementations. This 2016 market is also characterized in terms of optimistic, pessimistic, and consensus scenarios.
SOFC applications are described and analyzed. The following applications are considered:
- Combined heat and power (CHP)
- Portable product power
- Remote power and auxiliary power units (APUs)
SOFC companies are listed and detailed profiles prepared.
An in-depth analysis of technical and business literature and published dissertations; a review of the history of the technologies involved; and interviews with industry experts, company representatives, federal government researchers, and university scientists provide an assessment of the outlook for alternative electrical power storage. Other information sources include product literature from suppliers, scientific references, conferences, and patent searches.
Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in preparing this report, which is based on interviews with commercial and government sources, literature reviews, and patent examinations. Throughout the report, past market data is expressed in current dollars, and estimates and projections are in constant 2011 dollars. Historic markets (2006) and the projected market for 2016 are provided.
Most market summaries are based on a consensus scenario that assumes no unanticipated technical advances and no unexpected legislation. When appropriate, pessimistic, consensus, and optimistic market scenarios characterize several developmental markets. Totals are rounded to the nearest million dollars. When appropriate, information from previously published sources is identified to allow a more detailed examination by clients.
Market assumptions used in this report include those based on updates of material from an earlier version of this analysis, as well as from BCC Research studies. This report’s author prepared these studies as well. He also edits the twice-monthly BCC Research newsletter, Fuel Cell Industry Report and Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Progress, which are uniquely valuable sources for this market. Although many segments of the industry are well documented, much of this information is based on estimates, not hard facts. The distinction between these estimates and hard facts can be vital, and wherever possible, sources are identified.
This report’s project analyst, Donald Saxman, is the editor of BCC Research’s Fuel Cell Industry Report and Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Progress newsletters and has founded several other BCC newsletters. Mr. Saxman has more than 28 years of experience in market analysis, technical writing, and newsletter editing. Since 1983, he has operated as a technical market consultant and subcontractor to BCC Research, and, in this capacity, he has prepared more than 80 technology market research reports, including many that covered battery technology and battery markets. His previous experience includes supervision of a quality-control laboratory at a major secondary lead refinery, experience as an analytical chemist at a hazardous waste testing service, product assurance manager for a space station life-support-system project, and an information technology business analyst, and project manager.
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This publication provides informative material of a professional nature. It does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice, nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide or an endorsement of any given product or company. The information is intended to be as accurate as possible at the time it was written and was undertaken on a best-effort basis. The views expressed are those of the author’s and they do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information, or for the interpretation of data or its use by others. Projections involve risks and uncertainties and are not limited to, but include, technical risks associated with technology development, government regulatory approvals, and access to capital. The author assumes no responsibility for any losses or damages that might result due to reliance on this material.