According to a recent report by “Markets And Markets”, the North American fuel cell market is expected to increase from $157 million in 2013 to $667 million in 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 33.6%.
Fuel cells convert chemical energy into electrical energy without burning but through oxidation with oxygen or other oxidizing agents. There are many different kinds of fuel cells, including:
- polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM)
- direct methanol
- phosphoric acid
- solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)
- molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC)
The differences between fuel cells are based on the components used and the type of reaction that takes place inside the cell. Fuels include hydrogen, methane, biogas, natural gas and hydrocarbons. Some fuel cells are cleaner than others: for example, a hydrogen fuel cell generates water and electricity with zero emission of pollutants.
As the well documented trend towards renewable resources picks up steam, fuel cells are becoming more important as oil and gas reserves continue to deplete and renewable energy becomes mainstream.
Fuel Cell Market Segments
The fuel cell market in North America is segmented in many ways according to “Markets and Markets”:
- Is the fuel cell portable, transported, or stationary?
- Is the technology: Polymer/Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell, Direct Methanol Fuel Cell, Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell, Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell or other?
- Does the fuel cell process: hydrogen, natural gas/methane, methanol, or anaerobic digester gas?
Unit shipments of fuel cells, currently at 17,000 units, will rise to 335,000 units by 2018. Fuel cells will be used in stationary, portable and transportation applications and as a source of off-grid power, zero emission, clean energy.
For more on this report, visit Markets And Markets here.