FUTURE BRIGHT FOR
STATIONARY FUEL CELLS?
Report indicates growth expected in prime power, residential combined heat and power (CHP) applications
Although some sectors of the fuel cell industry continue to struggle, fuel cells for stationary applications have seen two years
of strong growth and the segment is
poised for more, according to a recent
The report, “The Fuel Cell and
Hydrogen Industries: 10 Trends to
Watch,” was released by Navigant
Research, a market research and
consulting firm that provides analysis
of global clean technology markets. In
it, Navigant describes what it believes
are the most important trends developing in the fuel cell and hydrogen
industries over the next year.
According to the report, the stationary fuel cells sector — prime power and
residential combined heat and power
(CHP) — will continue to expand rapidly in the coming years.
“The stationary fuel cell sector rep-
resented more than 70% of global fuel
cell revenue at the end of 2013, and
there are already large new orders on
the books for 2014,” said Lisa Jerram,
senior research analyst with Navigant
Research. “Along with renewed atten-
tion to fuel cell vehicles, these devel-
opments are causing usually cautious
investors to take a new look at the
Navigant Research projects that
the stationary sector will have a com-
pound annual growth rate (CAGR) of
42% between 2014 and 2022. Part
of the growth will be driven by com-
panies attempting to take advantage
of the current fuel cell federal tax
credit, which is set to expire in 2017.
Globally, Japan and South Korea are
likely to be strong markets for station-
ary fuel cell products, the report said.
The report notes that the fuel cell
vehicle market is also seeing growth,
which is also helping spur “a flurry of
investment” in hydrogen infrastructure.
The investment community has
shied away from the fuel cell industry
for a number of years — in large part
because of a lack of profits for fuel
cell companies — but that is likely
to change, Navigant said. The report
believes that investors will still look at
the industry with caution, but they will
have a “new openness” to investing
in specific end-use markets.
CHP configurations have seen the
most unit deployments, according to
the report, while electric-only prime
power applications have more capacity deployed. These trends reflect
competing views about which of these
markets will ultimately be the most
attractive for fuel cells. Subsidies will
continue to drive much of the market for the near term, but over the
next decade, a tipping point will be
reached wherein CHP fuel cells will
become the leading stationary fuel
cell market over electric-only prime
power systems, the report said.
The report forecasts that 7000 MW
of cumulative fuel cell CHP capacity will
be installed between 2013 and 2022. It
also noted that fuel cells will continue
to face competition from a broad array
of technologies, including reciprocating
internal combustion engines (ICE).
“These technologies are generally
low cost and benefit from an extensive dealer network providing ongoing
maintenance and service support,”
the report said. “Alongside fuel cells,
Stirling engine systems and microtur-bines are among a class of technologies still gaining commercial traction,
although fuel cells have generally
lagged behind these options across
the broader CHP landscape.”
The report is available at www.
Stationary fuel cells, like this 300 kW installation by FuelCell Energy Inc., are likely to
become more common, according to a new report from Navigant Research, a market
research and consulting firm. The report predicts that the stationary fuel cells sector —
prime power and residential combined heat and power (CHP) — will continue to expand in
the coming years.