The North America fuel cell technology market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.97% during the forecast period. Factors, such as advantages of fuel cell over its alternatives such as lithium-ion battery, government initiatives and private investment support are expected to drive the market studied. However, on the flip side, availability of proven and cost-effective alternate energy storage systems in the market and lack of hydrogen supply infrastructure are expected to restrain the market during the forecast period.
- Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEM) is expected to remain the dominant fuel cell type during the forecast period.
- Pure battery vehicles cannot cover all the route, load, and refueling requirements, therefore fuel cells are being considered as a practical solution for trucks to maintain a place. Thus, this is expected to provide a great opportunity for the fuel cell technology market in the near future.
- The United States is expected to witness a significant growth in the fuel cell market, on account of the R&D activities in the country and the strong development infrastructure.
Key Market Trends
Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEM) to Dominate the Market
- PEM fuel cell used for electrical power generation continues to dominate the stationary application, while for household heat and power it is in the nascent stage. During 2018, trucks and other heavy vehicles have increasingly started the significant application of PEM fuel cells.
- Among the various types of support materials, carbon black (Vulcan XC -72) has been widely used in PEM fuel cells, due to its high electrical conductivity and high specific area. However, it suffers from electro-oxidation under fuel cell operating conditions, resulting in the loss of catalytic activity after long term operation.
- The North American region (primarily the United States) is one of the early adopters of the commercial-scale deployment of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM)-based fuel cells. It was supported by government funding and has an increased uptake by end-users like the automobile industry.
- California Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, a government initiative, in 2013, established long-term plans to develop 100 retail hydrogen stations by 2021-22. This has encouraged the private sector for investment in the fuel cell market.
- As of 2018, in California around 5,000 fuel cell, including PEM fuel cell, powered vehicles were on the road. California has 35 retail hydrogen stations as of 2018.
- Therefore, owing to the development and governemnt support is expected to drive PEM fuel cell technology market in the region.
United States is Expected to Drive the Market
- The United States leads the global fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) deployed worldwide, and as of 2018, there were more than 535.6 MW of fuel cell stationary power, serving more than 40 states in the United States.
- California leads the deployment, where the Zero Emission Vehicle Program has significantly supplemented the sales of FCEVs and is expected to remain the same in the coming years.
- By 2020, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) aims to reduce the price of 80-kW fuel cell stack systems to about USD 40 - USD 30 per KW, at high-volume production of 50,000 systems per year. With the reductions in the price of fuel cell stacks, efforts are also being undertaken to lower the cost of hydrogen production.
- PEM remains the dominant chemistry for the transportation sector in the country, though both DMFC and SOFC variants of vehicle systems are under development. Automotive giants, such as Toyota and Hyundai, have ventured into PEM stack cell technology, in a bid to reduce the overall production costs of FCEVs.
- Similarly, automobile giants, such as Honda and General Motors (GM), in collaboration with Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC, have also announced the setting up of the auto industry's first manufacturing joint venture worth USD 85 million to co-produce fuel cell technology. The companies also announced the establishment of a manufacturing facility in Michigan, United States, by 2020.
- Such collaborative efforts by the government and industry players are expected to result in significant cost reduction of PEMFC and FCEVs. This, in turn, increased demand for fuel cells in the country.
The North America fuel cell technology market is fragmented. Some of the key players are Ballard Power Systems Inc., Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies Pte Ltd, FuelCell Energy Inc., Plug Power Inc., and Nuvera Fuel Cells LLC.
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