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.
The HyPulsion joint venture has now been owned in full by Plug Power since August 2015. As announced by the American (USA) company on July 27th 2015, it has acquired all of the shares in its former partner Axane, a subsidiary of the gases company Air Liquide. The New York-based manufacturer of fuel cells paid US-$ 11.5 m. for 80 % of the shares. In 2012, Plug Power and Axane joined forces to form HyPulsion, primarily with the goal of kick-starting the market for fuel cell forklift trucks. Andy Marsh, managing director of Plug Power, made the following comments: “We are now moving ahead with optimism to extend our presence in the European materials handling market. […] I am pleased that our collaboration with Air Liquide for the further development of the hydrogen sector in Europe is continuing.”
At first glance, the figures from some of the North American fuel cell companies by the end of March 2015 have proved to be disappointing. The reason that Ballard Power, Hydrogenics and Plug Power have come up with figures which failed to correspond to expectations are the high quarterly variations in relation to the accounting of orders which are complete as well as ones which are still being processed and settled. On the second glance