Building the Global Hydrogen Economy: Technologies and Opportunities

Published - Jun 2007| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - EGY055A
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Report Highlights

  • Global investments in building the hydrogen economy cost over $1.3 billion in 2006 and are expected to rise to nearly $1.7 billion in 2007 and $5.5 billion in 2012. These figures represent a CAGR of 27.0% over the next 5 years.
  • Technologies for converting hydrogen to energy, particularly fuel cells but also hydrogen internal combustion engines and turbines in the out-years, account for the bulk of the market: 78% in 2006 to 2007, declining somewhat to 76% in 2012.
  • Hydrogen storage and distribution technologies are also expected to lose market share (i.e., from 5.5% in 2006 to 3.9% in 2012). Hydrogen production technologies should increase their market share from 10.6% in 2006 to 14.3% in 2012, while other technologies' (mainly hydrogen sensors) share should remain steady at 5.9% of the market.


The transition to a hydrogen economy will require large investments in capital equipment and durable goods at every stage of the hydrogen chain, from production of hydrogen through its distribution and storage to the conversion of the hydrogen to useful work or energy. These investments are both an economic challenge, to the extent that they require the mobilization of sufficient financial resources, and a business opportunity for providers of related goods and services


This report contains:


  • The worldwide market for technologies used in the production, storage, and distribution of hydrogen; its conversion to other forms of energy or direct consumption as a fuel; and miscellaneous other types of hydrogen-related technology such as hydrogen sensors
  • Key enabling technologies for the hydrogen economy, their commercial or developmental status
  • Developments that will influence commercial prospects/demand for hydrogen technologies
  • Hydrogen technology market projections through 2012
  • Key patents
  • Government programs and policies in support of the hydrogen economy
  • Technology vendor profiles.



The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from producers and users of hydrogen production, storage, distribution, conversion, and using equipment, as well as engineering and consulting firms and government and academic research organizations. Interview data were combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and online databases to produce the market projections contained in this report.

The base year for analysis and projection is 2006. With 2006 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2007 to 2012. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts and our understanding of the key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective.

The methodologies and assumptions used to develop the market projections in this report are discussed at length under the various types of hydrogen-related plant and equipment addressed. The report carefully documents data sources and assumptions. This way, readers can see how the market estimates were developed and, if they so desire, test the impact on the final numbers resulting from changing various assumptions.


Andrew McWilliams, the author of this report, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel, LLC. He is the author of numerous other BCC Research market research reports, including a recent report on The Global Industrial Gas Business (CHM041B). McWilliams has also written several reports in the areas of energy and fuel efficiency (e.g., NAN044A Nanotechnology in Energy Applications, EGY053A Advanced Materials and Devices for Renewable Energy Systems, EGY051A Petroleum Fuel Optimization Technologies, ENV007A The U.S. Market for Green Building Materials, and CHM020B Catalysts for Environmental and Energy Applications).

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