USA: Over the past year, the stationary fuel cell industry has experienced healthy growth due to a surge in US and foreign government interest in reliable and resilient energy sources.
The sector is now at a point where, if all government policy relevant to stationary fuel cells was carried out, the global market potential would surpass three gigawatts (GW) in 2013, and increasing to more than 50 GW by 2020.
According to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, the number of stationary fuel cells shipped annually will increase from 21,000 in 2012 to more than 350,000 by 2022.
“While a number of companies have exited the fuel cell sector in the last year, government mandates for cleaner and more resilient power production are fueling a sharp increase in market demand,” says research director Kerry-Ann Adamson. “At the same time, a number of new business models are being adopted in order to meet this demand, including energy service companies, independent power producers, and cooperative energy companies. These are making stationary fuel cells a much more standardized option that can be considered as part of the overall energy mix.”
Overall, in terms of addressing market need, 2012 has seen a growing realism entering the stationary fuel cell industry, according to the report. Through late 2011, many fuel cell providers continued to assume that if they created a product, the market would change its requirements and adopt the new system.
This unrealistic assessment of the market has subsided, and companies are creating products for markets where real needs exists—using locally available fuels, systems created to be maintained by local engineers, and systems that do not require very limited operating temperature ranges.