Hydrogen Generation for Fuel Cells

Published - Dec 2003| Analyst - Alton Parrish| Code - EGY025A
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Report Highlights

  • The worldwide total for hydrogen delivery devices is estimated at $702 million in 2003 and is expected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 15.8% to $1,462 million in 2008.
  • The stationary market is estimated to be about 66% of the total hydrogen delivery device market. Rising at an AAGR of 15.8%, this market will continue to dominate, reaching $975 million in 2008.
  • Transportation will be 35% of the hydrogen delivery device market in 2008, up from 28% in 2003.
  • Portable fueling systems will have a value of about $117 million in 2003, growing to $244 million in 2008 at an AAGR of 15.7%.


INTRODUCTION

The U.S. Department of Energy has identified hydrogen storage and production as a priority for research and development. Fuel cells are considered to be a viable technology for meeting U.S. energy and power needs well into the 21st century. In turn, the technologies to create the needed hydrogen on a consumer level are in development. The ultimate winners have not been selected. Competitors include both large and small companies with generous government subsidies to help determine what works easily and well, and what can be manufactured at the same costs as current equipment for generating electricity (about $400 to $600 per kilowatt).

By 2010, an estimated 130 GW of new generating capacity will be installed in the U.S. In world markets, and within a much shorter time frame, nearly 550 GW of generating capacity will be added. Fuel cell commercialization opportunities in the U.S. market are focused on several large-scale areas. No less promising are a host of fuel cell applications that are present virtually anywhere electrical power is a factor. Fuel cell advocates proclaim the technology as one of the era’s most momentous leaps forward. Most of those visions, however, have yet to materialize.

This BCC technical market study provides an in-depth analysis of fuel cell technology and hydrogen generation, and their expected roles in power-generation markets. The report also provides in-depth analysis of the pertinent technical and economic drivers for the generation and storage of hydrogen for fuel cells as well as forecasting growth of the industry sectors. The emphasis is on reforming technologies, electrolyzers and storage components, such as hydrides and tanks. The study also discusses emerging technologies for hydrogen production and storage as well as identifying large and small companies and the technologies they offer.

SCOPE OF STUDY

This report includes coverage of:

  • Fueling systems
  • Production of hydrogen from renewable sources
  • Cost comparisons for various fuel cell materials and configurations
  • Reforming technologies
  • Electrolyzers
  • Storage components, such as hydrides and tanks
  • Emerging technologies
  • Markets summarized by region and the types of fuel cells
  • Players and potential players in the market.

METHODOLOGY

Research for this report began with an in-depth analysis of technical and literature, a well as a review of the history of the technology. Interviews with industry experts, company representatives, federal government researchers, and university scientists provided the basis for an assessment of the outlook for hydrogen generation and storage applications. Secondary sources of information include product literature from fuel cell system suppliers, and numerous scientific references, patent searches, and BCC's Fuel Cell Technology News, Battery and EV Technology News, and Membrane & Separation Technology News.

The report makes projections for each market in terms of constant dollars. Historical values are presented for the given year, with focus on the U.S. Overseas activity is also presented, putting the U.S. market into global context. Estimates of the fuel cell applications installed in particular areas were obtained either from surveys done or from estimates of those knowledgeable in the industry. Values that are given for these processes are generally based on the best estimates from those involved in the commercialization of the technology. These values reflect only the current small U.S. sales figures; however, this report makes some reference to the world markets in cases where those markets exert substantial influence on the U.S. market sector. Projections for the 2003 to 2008 time period are given in 2003 constant dollars and represent real growth. Where precise information was not available, a consensus was made using a formulation of reasonable assumptions and estimates based on a baseline obtained from historical data.

Estimates are based both on the estimated dollar value of number of units actually installed and the research value in the area of hydrogen generation and storage. The research dollars granted by the government are often matched or more than matched by private research spending. Although a great deal of the money is devoted to the salaries of scientists and engineers, a certain amount of money still must be spent on materials. The amounts of research spending, combined with the amounts actually spent to install hydrogen generation and storage units for practical use, forms the basis for the market estimates.

Gas volumes, in particular hydrogen, in this report assume the gas is at standard temperature and pressure. Standard temperature is 0ºC and standard pressure is one atmosphere absolute. The term "normal" is sometimes used in place of STP, but is not so used in this report. Gas volumes in this report are at STP, unless otherwise noted. A cubic foot of gas at STP is an SCF.

INFORMATION SOURCES

The information sources for this study include extensive online research, patent literature, worldwide technical journals and magazines, and interviews with principals in the industry. It also includes the results of interviews with company executives.

VALUE OF THE REPORT

This report compiles a range of industrial and technical information into a comprehensive technical/marketing study that should aid interested parties in determining the investment potential of hydrogen for use with fuel cells. It should be of value to companies interested in entering or expanding their involvement in the technologies involved with hydrogen production for fuel cells. This report should also interest those companies that wish to keep up with the breakthroughs and improvements going on with fuel cells. It provides market projections for those interested in commercialization opportunities, including senior marketing specialists, venture capitalists, and executive planners. Novice readers who desire to understand how environmental pressures, market pressures, and technology interact in the development of the fuel cell should find this report to be a valuable source of information.

AUTHOR'S CREDENTIALS

Alton Parrish has been the editor of Fuel Cell Technology News since its inception in October of 1998. He is also the editor of Battery and Electric Vehicle Technology News. He has written about fuel cells and other power sources for more than 7 years. For BCC, he has written market research reports on fuel cells and organized three fuel cell conferences. He has also written market research reports on amino acids, chelates and clathrates, holography and air pollution monitoring devices.

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