Evolving SOFCS Technology Promises Big Growth, Doubling Market

April 06, 2016

Wellesley, Mass., April 06, 2016 – Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are among the most efficient and cost-effective sources of power, rivaling other fuel cells, batteries, internal combustion engines and coal- or oil-fired heat engines.  BCC Research reveals in its new report that SOFCs are transitioning from an emerging market to a specialty market whose sales have doubled in the past five years, and will likely double again over the forecast period.

Fuel cells, like batteries, produce electrical energy through an electrochemical process. Unlike batteries, fuel cells are conversion devices that change chemical fuel into electricity. Like combustion engines, fuel cells convert fuel into energy, but in this case, the energy is electricity rather than kinetic (movement) or heat.

The global market for SOFC totaled $303 million and $622 million in 2008 and 2012, respectively. The market is expected to reach nearly $1.2 billion by 2020 from $662 million in 2015, increasing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3%. The segment comprising generators, remote and APU applications is expected to grow from $260 million in 2015 to $410 million in 2020, reflecting a five-year CAGR of 9.5%. Combined heat and power (CHP) applications segment should reach $240 million and $550 million in 2015 and 2020, respectively, demonstrating a five-year CAGR of 18%.

SOFC’s solid-state design offers a key competitive advantage because it eliminates the corrosion problems associated with some liquid electrolyte fuel cells. Like molten carbonate fuel cells, SOFCs take the more traditional liquid electrolyte with a hard ceramic material. This allows for the potential of decreased manufacturing costs and increased reliability. Its technology often employs solid-state cells constructed of ceramic yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolytes instead of corrosive liquid electrolytes. As a result, the cells are simpler to design, manufacture, install and operate.

“SOFCs are transitioning from an emerging market to a specialty market, and are poised to become a mass market for both the residential heating and power and, eventually, the consumer electronics industries,” says BCC Research analyst Donald Saxman. “Much of the market’s value and growth will result from the combined heat and power (CHP) units, which represent a technology that evolved from the cogeneration process. Because SOFCs can operate using natural gas, these CHPs can be economically used in individual residences. The anticipated $240-million 2015 market represents about 36% of the entire global SOFC market.”

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: Technologies and Global Markets (EGY048D) analyzes the market by application and by product sizes; utility scale, medium scale and small scale. The report examines emerging applications, innovations, obstacles and future needs.  Analyses of global market drivers and trends, with data from 2008, 2012, 2015, and projections of CAGRs through 2020 also are provided.

Editors and reporters who wish to speak with the analyst should contact Steven Cumming at steven.cumming@bccresearch.com.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: Technologies and Global Markets( EGY048D )
Publish Date: Mar 2016    

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