January saw the publication of the Fuel Cell Industry Review 2018, including market figures and analyses. The review was created by the team of E4tech, which has contacted fuel cell companies once a year since 2014 to provide an independent overview of the fuel cell market based on aggregated shipment numbers. Below are some excerpts from its report.
In 2018, fuel cell system sales continued to grow. In all, companies shipped 74,000 systems, around 4,000 more than in 2017.
The same kind of trend could be observed with regard to generation capacity, which grew by 145 megawatts to around 800 megawatts. All figures include estimates for the last three months of the year, which means they may still be revised before the actual totals are published in the 2019 review.
Shipments have increased steadily year after year, especially in the vehicle sector. In light of the attention that hydrogen and fuel cells have received, one may wonder why the market has not (yet) experienced exponential growth. In this context, it should be noted that a large part of current production was prompted by two crucial factors: For one, strategic considerations had pioneers such as Toyota, Honda and Hyundai fund fuel cell RD&D themselves. For another, the regulations on stationary systems, as well as public funding in South Korea, Japan, North America and now Germany, have contributed to making the technology competitive.
Despite growth in past years, fuel cells remain a niche product compared to traditional solutions in the markets for vehicles and stationary power generation. Still, the rate at which partnerships, investments and projects are and have been announced should be seen as a positive sign: Even if it hasn’t yet resulted in higher sales, it does show that businesses are laying the foundation for future growth.
Read more in H2-international April 2019