Fuel cell industry faces challenges but could have a promising futureJanuary 18, 2018
The fuel cell industry is growing despite the challenges it faces
The global fuel cell industry experienced healthy growth in 2017, but it still faces significant challenges in the years to come. E4tech, a sustainable energy consultancy firm, estimates that the industry shipped some 670 megawatts worth of fuel cells last year. This is a 30% increase over the capacity that was shipped in 2016. In 2018, this capacity may reach approximately 1,000 megawatts. Despite this promising growth, fuel cells account for an extremely small percentage of all renewable energy generated throughout the world.
Fuel cells still produce less electricity collectively than other renewable energy solutions
Currently, four solar farms in China generate more electrical power than the entirety of the fuel cell industry. Indeed, solar power is one of the most popular and heavily supported forms of clean energy in the world. Fuel cells have struggled to find a foothold in many markets due to their high costs. These energy systems make use of a significant amount of platinum, making them extraordinarily expensive when compared to other clean technologies. Moreover, producing hydrogen fuel is an energy intensive process that consumes a significant amount of fossil-fuels. Much of the world lacks the infrastructure needed to support the widespread use of fuel cells as well, which is why many countries have focused on simpler energy solutions.
Advances in technology have made fuel cells less expensive
While the fuel cell industry faces some struggles, it continues to flourish in certain aspects. The cost of fuel cells has dropped significantly over the past several years. This is largely due to technological advances that have come to the industry. Fuel cell developers are also receiving strong support from governments interested in renewable energy. The governments are looking to support the incorporation of fuel cells into the transportation sector.
Improving fuel cells and hydrogen production has become a priority for many companies
The cost of fuel cells will likely continue to fall in the coming years as new technology enters the industry. Hydrogen production is also becoming less expensive and more efficient as new solutions emerge. Some companies are looking to use renewable energy to produce hydrogen, making the fuel more environmentally friendly.