A market report recently published by news agency Bloomberg concludes we’re well on our way to a hydrogen revolution. I’d call it a megatrend. The report’s authors expect USD 2.5 trillion, that is, USD 2,500 billion, will pour into the hydrogen and fuel cell sector by 2050. The International Energy Agency agrees. Between 2018 and 2020, an estimated USD 1.5 billion per year went into developing the market, a figure said to climb to USD 38 billion by 2040. By 2050, investments will reportedly grow to USD 181 billion – again, per year. All these forecasts are based on targets already set by countries, global organizations and companies themselves.
Driven in part by the recent decarbonization aims of multiple countries and businesses around the world, there is now pressure on every stakeholder in the sector to establish a global hydrogen economy as fast as possible. That much was clear to those attending German Handelsblatt magazine’s online Hydrogen Summit on May 26 and 27. An oft-discussed issue also brought up at the summit was the color of future hydrogen supplies. In response, Wolfgang Büchele, who was Linde’s chief executive from 2014 to 2016, said, roughly, that the color of the gas – be it green, blue or gray – was not nearly as important as the speed at which a steady supply of hydrogen could become a reality.
Europe is leading the way in developing the breakthrough technologies needed to realise hydrogen’s energy potential. With hydrogen-powered buses and taxis being used across major cities, we have demonstrated that the technology can be used on a large scale.
The dust has settled on a rally to the top and a share price that nearly tripled temporarily. Stock market experts like to call it chart consolidation and profit taking. ITM (London: ITM) was successful in raising EUR 120 million in fresh capital. Now, the British manufacturer’s market capitalization is above long-term expectations despite its bright outlook. I think investors should put this one on the watchlist, but look for other, more promising options in the meantime.
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
H2-international has recently asked manufacturers of fuel cell stacks not only about their systems’ technical specifications, but also about their opinion of current market developments. As only seven companies participated in the survey, the results may not be very indicative of where the entire market is heading. However, you can discern a few trends.
Last November, H2-international published a first market overview of residential fuel cell systems. This time, we will take a closer look at electrolyzers. To try and map the current situation on the electrolyzer market, we contacted 18 manufacturers, primarily from the German-speaking region, but also from across Europe and North America. Ten of them have sent us details on their electrolyzers. Nine of them have made it onto the product list; Diamond Lite and Proton OnSite provided virtually identical information.
Despite the fuel cell industry’s recent growth spurt, the market still looks like a pyramid. At the top, you will find the stack and system manufacturers which offer commercial products and have a clear understanding of the costs involved and the wishes customers may have. These businesses are either driven by policy, as in Japan, or the forces of a free market, like FuelCell Energy. But of the worldwide more than 200 stack and system providers, fewer than 30 have made it this far.
Heliocentris was founded in 1995 as a supplier of teaching materials. After a successful takeover bid for P21 in 2011, the company headquartered in Berlin, Germany, diversified its business activities and has since expanded its product portfolio to include hybrid power solutions for energy management, particularly for customers in the telecommunications sector. The expressed aim of the business – “Substitute diesel units by fuel cells” – has remained and has likewise sparked much investment in electrolysis systems.
November 2015 saw the publication of the Fuel Cell Industry Review 2015, including market data and analyses for 2015. Since 2014, a team led by E4tech had contacted fuel cell companies around the globe, aggregated their supply figures and can now show the latest trends in the industry, much as Fuel Cell Today had done before its survey came to a halt. The following will present some excerpts from the review.