Building the Global Hydrogen Economy: Technologies and Opportunities

Published - May 2010| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - EGY055B
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Report Highlights

  • Global investments in building the hydrogen economy cost nearly $2 billion in 2009, and are expected to rise to exceed $2.2 billion in 2010, approaching $5.4 billion by 2015.  These figures represent a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.3% 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: $1.1 billion (56.9%) in 2009, increasing to $3.7 billion  (69%) in 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2%.  
  • Hydrogen production technologies, while increasing in value, are expected to lose market share, i.e., from $608 million (30.7%) in 2009 to $1.1 billion (20.7%) in 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5%.


This report is an update of an earlier (2007) BCC report on the global hydrogen economy.   There have been significant developments since the last report was published, most notably the reduced likelihood of large-scale commercialization of fuel cell vehicles during the study period, which has significant applications for the size and structure of the market for hydrogen technologies.  
Otherwise, 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.
The overall goal of this report is to comprehensively describe the key enabling technologies for the hydrogen economy, challenges that must be overcome before they can be commercialized, the projected cost to implement them over the near to mid-term (i.e., through 2015), and the resulting market opportunities.
This report is intended especially for executives, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists and other readers with a need to know where the market for hydrogen related technologies is headed in the next 5 years. The report’s findings and conclusions should also be of interest to the energy research and policy communities.
The report covers 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.
The study format includes the following major elements: 
  • Executive summary
  • 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 2015
  • 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 2009.    With 2009 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2010 through 2015. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined with 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 of 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 business opportunity analyses of related areas, including the previous edition of this report. Other recent BCC reports by Mr. McWilliams include CHM041C The Global Industrial Gas Business, EGY053B Advanced Materials and Devices for Renewable Energy, CHM020C Catalysts for Environmental and Energy Applications, and ENV011A: The U.S. Market for Clean Technologies.
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or its use.

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

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.


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