During a first market analysis several years ago, Professor Birgit Scheppat from RheinMain University conducted extensive tests and evaluations of fuel cell stacks available at the time (see October 2010 issue of German-language magazine HZwei). On behalf of Hessen Agentur and in collaboration with the H2BZ initiative, she examined which challenges customers face when they intend to replace a battery or another unit supplying electrical energy with a fuel cell stack. The analysis also involved the purchase of stacks in the 1-kilowatt category. The research team contacted 33 businesses; however, only six could deliver a unit. Tests were performed with three modules from Europe, two from Canada and one from China. The net price for these systems ranged between EUR 3,500 and EUR 8,500.
The new market overview compiled by H2-international lists fuel cell stacks that have a polymer electrolyte membrane and between 1 kilowatt and 100 kilowatts of output. We only included units that are supplied with pure hydrogen and can be operated either at around 80 °C (low-temperature PEMs) or between 120 and 160 °C (high-temperature PEMs). Direct methanol versions were not considered.
We wrote to 30 organizations altogether, including some wholesalers and some businesses which have since discontinued their fuel cell activities. Eight of them replied, although one did not return any usable data, so we only had seven stacks to compare in total. For this reason, our list is not to be regarded as exhaustive.