What's the future of fuel cells?

In past …

Batteries were invented in 1800 and fuel cell in 1801, however electric generators invented in 1831 becomes an ideal choice for the Power Generation sector. Electric generators were also a contributor to significant emissions as the technology works on fossil fuels.

Fuel cell and batteries technologies are being explored now, as a solution to reduce carbon emission which will have a direct impact on climate change.

Both, Fuel cell and batteries, supply energy based on chemical reaction, but batteries stores energy whereas fuel cell generates energy just like an electric generator. A fuel cell generates energy by combining hydrogen and oxygen with water as a harmless byproduct.

Fuel Cell Advantage..

A 20 lb. propane tank can be converted into nearly 3400 amp-hours of power. In comparison, a standard lead-acid battery, weighing about 60 lbs., has only 80 amp-hours. So it's a clear advantage of fuel cells over batteries, which could be idle for the transport sector and Power Generation.

Fuel Cell Types..

Alkaline, Molten carbonate, and Phosphoric Acid fuel cell has liquid electrolyte whereas, the Proton exchange membrane and Solid oxide has solid electrolyte. The fuel cell has an efficiency up to 80% and can provide cell output up to a few 100 MW.

Fuel Cell Growth …

The year 2019 was the landmark year for fuel cells with collectively 1 GW,~ 700,000 units were delivered. This is a 40% growth in revenue as compared to the Year 2018. Korea sold most for the stationery and transport market, whereas Toyota sold most cars making them the biggest manufacturer of fuel cell cars in 2019. Most of the fuel cell installations happened in California as the state has a strong commitment towards a carbon-neutral policy. Asia contributed almost 65% by quantity and 55% by MW. Europe contributed 15% and North America was in third place with 12% consumption. 76% consumption was for stationary applications whereas, the transport sector was at 21% and the portable sector remains a 3%.

1.3 GW was delivered in the year 2020, with 50,000 units consumed by Japan, Korea, and Germany for Micro CHP applications. Asia shipment remains at 69%, followed by NA at 19% and then Europe at 11 %. Transport sector consumed 75% by MW followed by stationary sector which remains at 25%.

Fuel Cell Manufactures..

Toyota, Hyundai, Fuel cell energy, Umicore, PlugPower, Doosan corporation, Ceres Power, PowerCell, Cummins, Bloom Energy, Symbio, are some of the manufacturers actively developing the fuel cell market either through direct participation or through partnership or acquisitions.

Fuel Cell Products..

The original manufacturers and its partners are bringing products like NEXO ( Hyundai), Mirai ( Toyota), Clarity (Honda), iHYDROGEN ( BMW), Maxus ( SAIC), Snowy ( H2X), XP-1 ( Hyperion Motors), Corodia iLINT, Mireo Plus H, Nuvera, HYSEAS III ferry, MEGAMIE, A5 Telecom Gencell, Freedom Power, EFOY Pro DMFC, Performer P250i, and many more for Transport, Stationary, and portable sector.

Clean energy provides a variety of environmental and economic benefits, and fuel cell technology provides an ultimate solution as an alternative for fossil fuel which is the biggest contributor to emission.

Happy Learning

Mr PCS Market Intelligence Team

Source: Fuel cell performance 2019 and 2020

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