Stationary fuel cells may soon achieve commercializationMarch 7, 2014
New report details the impressive progress that large fuel cells have made recently
Stationary fuel cells have been on the verge of seeing widespread commercialization for several years. A new report from WinterGreen Research suggests that commercialization may be achievable in the near future as the world begins to focus more heavily on fuel cells in general. Fuel cells have already won a dominant position in the auto industry and the capabilities of small-scale fuel cells have drawn attention to their larger counterparts.
Large energy systems are winning more support among various industries
Stationary fuel cells are typically large energy systems that make use of hydrogen and methanol to produce electrical power. Because these energy systems are so large, they are not typically mobile. Their large size does, however, allow them to produce larger quantities of energy than smaller, more mobile fuel cells. This has made these larger fuel cells more attractive for industrial purposes. The problem, however, is that all kinds of fuel cells are expensive because of their use of costly materials, such as platinum. The high cost of fuel cells has prevented commercialization for several years.
Scientific breakthroughs lead to less expensive fuel cells
According to the report from WinterGreen Research, fuel cell developers and research groups have been finding ways to reduce the costs of these energy systems significantly by using less expensive materials. Companies like Bloom Energy have made major breakthroughs in material science, allowing them to produce new fuel cells that are less expensive than those that had been produced in the past. These breakthroughs are expected to have a major impact on the stationary fuel cell market, which is currently valued at $1.2 billion.
Stationary fuel cell market expected to reach $14 billion by 2020 as demand increases
The market for stationary fuel cells is expected to reach $14 billion by 2020. This growth is likely to be heavily influenced by the demand for distributed power generation based on natural gas. While many fuel cells are designed to make use of hydrogen, they can also make use of natural gas to produce electrical power.