The global hydrogen fuel cell market has experienced significant growth in recent years, primarily driven by government initiatives and policies promoting renewable energy sources and cleaner transportation owing to the increasing concerns about climate change and the need to meet nationally determined carbon emissions reduction targets. Additionally, a growing number of nations have come up with industry targets that have to be met and policies that directly support investment in hydrogen technologies.
However, one significant restraint hindering the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cells is the high initial investment required for their deployment. The costs associated with the manufacturing, transportation, and installation of fuel cell systems can be prohibitive for many consumers. Additionally, the lack of a robust hydrogen refuelling infrastructure poses a challenge, as it hinders the growth of the fuel cell electric vehicle market and other hydrogen-associated markets on a global scale.
A fuel cell generates electricity in a clean and efficient way by using the chemical energy of hydrogen. If pure hydrogen is used as fuel, only electricity, water, and heat are produced. Fuel cells are one of a kind because they can be used in a number of applications. Hydrogen fuel cells are being adopted across various sectors, including transportation and stationary power generation, due to their efficiency, versatility, and zero-emission characteristics.
Hydrogen fuel cells function in a similar fashion to batteries. They generate heat and electricity as long as hydrogen is available. Two electrodes—a negative electrode (also known as the anode) and a positive electrode (also known as the cathode)—sandwiched around an electrolyte make up a fuel cell.
The anode receives hydrogen fuel, while the cathode receives air. A catalyst at the anode of the fuel cell splits hydrogen molecules into protons (hydrogen ions) and electrons, which travel via several routes to the cathode. An external circuit is traversed by the electrons, causing electricity to flow. The hydrogen protons move from the electrolyte to the cathode through the electrolyte, where they combine with oxygen and electrons to create heat and water.
Fuel cells are considered better than the traditional fossil fuel combustion-based technologies that are currently used in many power plants and vehicles in several ways. Fuel cells have a high energy efficiency relative to combustion engines because they can directly turn the chemical energy in fuel into electrical energy. Their efficiency can go up to over 60%. Compared to combustion engines, fuel cells produce less pollution or none at all. Hydrogen fuel cells only give off water. Since they do not emit carbon dioxide, they help solve important climate problems. There are also no air pollutants at the point of operation that cause smog and health problems. Fuel cells are also quiet during operations as they have few moving parts.
Governments worldwide are increasingly recognizing the importance of transitioning to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources to address environmental concerns, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. In this context, hydrogen fuel cells have gained significant attention as a promising solution for decarbonizing various sectors, including transportation, industry, and power generation.
Several ways in which governments are supporting and promoting hydrogen as the fuel of the future include:
Financial Incentives: Governments are offering financial incentives such as grants, subsidies, tax credits, and research funding to encourage investments in hydrogen fuel cell technologies. These incentives make it more attractive for businesses and industries to adopt hydrogen-based solutions.
For instance, the United States Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) encompasses measures aimed at curbing inflation while also promoting clean energy initiatives. It includes a series of tax credits that incentivize domestic renewable energy production, with a particular focus on clean hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These incentives involve extensions, enhancements, and the creation of new federal tax credits to further drive clean energy adoption and the growth of the clean energy technologies market.
Policy and Regulatory Support: Governments are implementing policies and regulations that mandate or encourage the use of hydrogen fuel cells in specific applications. Some regions are setting targets for the deployment of hydrogen-powered vehicles or requiring a certain percentage of hydrogen in the energy mix.
The Japanese government is placing its bets on hydrogen vehicles as a key strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To accomplish this goal, they have set an ambitious target of having 200,000 Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) on the roads by 2025, a substantial increase from the approximately 3,600 FCVs in 2019.
Additionally, the government plans to establish 320 hydrogen filling stations as part of its third Strategic Roadmap for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, further supporting the widespread adoption of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles and advancing their commitment to a sustainable and greener future.
Infrastructure Development: Governments are investing in the development of the hydrogen economy, which includes infrastructure such as hydrogen production facilities, refuelling stations, and distribution networks. The establishment of a robust infrastructure is essential for the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
Collaborative Initiatives: Governments are actively engaging in partnerships and collaborations with private companies, research institutions, and international organizations to accelerate the development and deployment of hydrogen technologies.
For instance, the Clean Hydrogen Partnership (2021-2027) is a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors, backed by the European Commission through Horizon Europe. It follows the achievements of the previous Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and incorporates the EU-led initiative called the Hydrogen Valleys Platform, under Mission Innovation.
On March 1, 2023, the Commission and key stakeholders joined hands by signing a joint declaration, pledging to intensify and expedite their collective endeavors in research, development, demonstration, and deployment of Hydrogen Valleys.
Overall, rising government support for promoting hydrogen (especially green hydrogen) as the fuel of the future has created a favourable environment for the development, commercialization, and adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technologies. As a result, the global hydrogen fuel cell market is experiencing significant growth and is expected to play a crucial role in the global transition towards a more sustainable energy landscape.
With increasingly stringent emissions regulations and government support for new energy vehicles, expectations regarding the future fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market are growing. FCEVs can go 300-400 miles on a tank of hydrogen and can be refuelled in three to five minutes. They combine the zero-emissions driving of an electric vehicle with the range and convenience of a traditional internal combustion engine. FCEVs can save up to three times as much energy as regular vehicles.
Major car manufacturers have invested heavily in fuel cell vehicles and have developed their hydrogen fuel cell vehicles portfolios. Companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda have successfully released FCV cars, which registered encouraging sales in 2021.
In the year 2022, approximately 19,600 fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEVs) were sold across the globe. This marked a notable 6% rise from the previous year's sales. In terms of the overall electric vehicle (EV) market share, these FCEVs accounted for 0.2% in 2022. Out of the total 70,200 FCEVs that were deployed worldwide by the end of 2022, 82% were light-duty vehicles (LDVs).
As of 2022, South Korea has emerged as the dominant force in the global market for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), boasting an impressive cumulative sales figure of 29,500 units. These sales accounted for a significant 43% share of the total global FCEV market, followed by the United States (22%), China (16%), Japan (11%), and Germany (3%).
The application of fuel cell technology for long haul heavy duty vehicles is already showing promising results. Particularly, the Polymer Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEM Fuel Cell) and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) technologies are being considered attractive alternatives to conventional diesel trucks and buses. Countries are actively supporting fuel cell trucks in Europe and Asia. Many pilot projects are underway in the Americas.
For instance, Nikola Corporation received a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Zero Emission Powertrain Executive Order in December 2022. The executive order is required by Nikola's Tre hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) for it to be eligible for CARB's Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).
The US Energy Department's Argonne National Laboratory is developing a new, cost-saving hydrogen fuel station compressor that allows for more efficient refueling as part of its continued support for hydrogen fuel cell trucks and other vehicles.
Many nations have started recognizing fuel cell vehicles as an ideal mode of public transportation. For instance, the government of India plans to test hydrogen-powered buses in Leh (Ladakh) for public transportation, as part of an effort to promote renewable energy. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently announced its plans to deploy two hydrogen fuel cell buses on a pilot basis.
In China, fuel cell Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDVs) constituted a significant 98% of their total cumulative FCEV sales up to 2022. However, in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, fuel cell HDVs represented much smaller portions, making up only 8.9%, 1.3%, 1.1%, and 0.6% of their respective total heavy duty FCEV sales.
Fuel cell manufacturers and automotive OEMs are investing heavily in increasing manufacturing capacity to reduce costs and cater to growing demand in the future. However, currently, despite several benefits, FCEVs’ adoption is limited by three major constraints: high costs, technical challenges, and a lack of hydrogen distribution and production infrastructure.
The uptake of FCEVs is predicted to be significant only in the long term. This is because of the considerable barriers, including the achievement of cost reductions by OEMs, the development of infrastructure, and the identification and standardization of the most efficient solution for hydrogen production. Despite the above constraints, various policy options being put into action by governments across the globe to promote and accelerate FCVs adoption are expected to fast-track the uptake process.
Organizations are looking at fuel cells as a pragmatic way to get reliable backup power because of the vulnerabilities associated with dependence on the central grid. Fuel cells have been proved to be a great energy source for backup power in times of crisis. For instance, after Hurricane Sandy hit the Caribbean and East Coast in 2012, fuel cells supplied emergency backup power to telecommunication towers in the Bahamas and the Northeast United States. When run times of three days or less are enough, fuel cells can be much cheaper than systems with batteries and generators.
Stationary Fuel cells are making inroads into the power generation market. Stationary fuel cells provide dependable, efficient, and clean off-grid power to homes, companies, telecommunications networks, utilities, and other structures through an electrochemical reaction rather than combustion.
Without the concern of efficiency losses associated with long-distance grid transmission, these systems directly supply electricity to clients on-site. Additionally, stationary fuel cells can be deployed almost anywhere due to their quiet operation and low emissions.
Furthermore, stationary fuel cell systems are significantly smaller and require less space relative to other sustainable energy technologies. For instance, around an acre of land can be used to site a 10 MW fuel cell facility. In contrast, roughly 10 acres and about 50 acres, respectively, are needed for each MW of solar and wind energy.
For instance, in Sept 2021, South Korea began the operation of the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell power plant in its port city of Incheon. With a production capacity of 78.96 MW, the plant is capable of providing clean electricity to around 250,000 households per year.
The stationary application is the largest segment of the fuel cell market. While the transportation segment is expected to pick up the pace during the forecast period owing to the increasing availability of hydrogen fueling stations across different nations, mass production at full scale globally is expected to come to fruition around 2024 and 2025.
The Asia Pacific hydrogen fuel cell market is currently leading the global fuel cell landscape. The market in this region is driven by factors such as increasing government support for the deployment of fuel cell systems in order to achieve emission reduction targets and develop regional hydrogen economy, rapidly growing power generation and transportation industries, and a significant presence of key market players in countries such as Japan, South Korea, and China.
According to the Hydrogen Council, the total global capacity for fuel cell manufacturing currently stands at 12 GW, with Japan and South Korea leading as the largest supply markets. This growth indicates the increasing momentum and commitment towards hydrogen-based technologies on a global scale.
The economic downturn induced by the coronavirus hindered the sales of FCEVs due to the financial uncertainty faced by OEMs and customers. However, in the medium to long term, the fundamentals are strong, so the market is expected to proliferate during the forecast period.
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The study examines the drivers, restraints, and regional trends influencing Global hydrogen fuel cells market demand and growth.
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The report includes a meticulous analysis of each factor, explaining the relevant, qualitative information with supporting data.
Each factor's respective impact in the near, medium, and long term will be covered using Harvey balls for visual communication of qualitative information and as a guide for you to analyze the degree of impact.
This report discusses an overview of the market, the latest updates, important commercial developments and structural trends, and government policies and regulations
This section provides an assessment of COVID-19's impact on global hydrogen fuel cells market demand.
The report provides global market size and demand forecast until 2028, including year-on-year (YoY) growth rates and CAGR.
The report examines the critical elements of the Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell industry supply chain, its structure, and the participants.
Using Porter's five forces framework, the report covers the assessment of the Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell industry's state of competition and profitability.
The report dissects the Global Hydrogen Fuel Cells Market into segments based on application and geographical regions. A detailed summary of the current scenario, recent developments, and market outlook will be provided for each segment.
Further, market size and demand forecasts will be presented, along with various drivers and barriers for individual market segments.
Effective market segmentation enables you to identify emerging trends and opportunities for long-term growth. Contact us for "bespoke" market segmentation to better align the research report with your requirements.
The report covers detailed profiles of major countries across the world. Each country's analysis covers the current market scenario, market drivers, government policies and regulations, and market outlook.
In addition, market size, demand forecasts, and growth rates will be provided for all regions.
Following are the notable countries covered under each region.
North America: United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Rest of North America
South America: Argentina, Chile, and the Rest of South America
Europe: Germany, France, the United Kingdom (UK), Russia, and the Rest of Europe
Asia-Pacific: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the Rest of APAC
Middle-East & Africa: Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Africa, and other countries
This report presents detailed profiles of Key companies in the Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell industry, such as Doosan Fuel Cell, Bloom Energy, Ballard Power Systems Inc., Plug Power Inc., etc.
Generally, each company profile includes an overview of the company, relevant products and services, a financial overview, and recent developments.
The report provides a comprehensive list of notable companies in the market, including mergers and acquisitions (M&As), joint ventures (JVs), partnerships, collaborations, and other business agreements.
The study also discusses the strategies adopted by leading players in the industry.
Executive summary will be jam-packed with charts, infographics, and forecasts. This chapter summarizes the findings of the report crisply and clearly.
The report begins with an Executive Summary chapter and ends with Conclusions and Recommendations.
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1. Executive Summary
2. Research Scope and Methodology
3. Market Analysis
4. Industry Analysis
5. Market Segmentation & Forecast
6. Regional Market Analysis
7. Key Company Profiles
8. Competitive Landscape
9. Conclusions and Recommendations
List of Tables & Figures
Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell Capacity Addition (in MW), 2021-2028
Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell Market Revenue (in USD million), 2021-2028
Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell Capacity Addition (in MW), by Application, 2021-2028
Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell Market Revenue (in USD million), by Application, 2021-2028
Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell Capacity Addition (in MW), by Region, 2021-2028
Global Hydrogen Fuel Cell Market Revenue (in USD million), by Region, 2021-2028
Number of Hydrogen Filling Station Target for Key States/Countries
Number of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) Target for Key States/Countries
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