Stationary Sector is Biggest Driver of Fuel Cell Growth So Far

October 8, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

Navigant energy manageFrom 2014 to 2017, stationary is expected to be the leading fuel cell sector in terms of megawatts shipped, according to a report from Navigant Research.

Stationary markets are the furthest along both in commercial viability and adoption, says the “Fuel Cells Annual Report 2014.

These markets also have the largest unit size in kilowatts, so a small number of stationary units will tend to account for a significant number of megawatts. The large power plants somewhat skew the megawatts for stationary power, as shipping just a few units will represent a large amount of capacity shipped, even though other applications – such as backup power or forklifts – may see more units shipped.

Overall, the capacity forecast indicates that stationary power is the sector with the strongest potential for near-term growth. Transportation is projected to continue to be led in the near term by forklifts and auxiliary power units (APUs). Both applications use fuel cells under 10 kW, so growth in these applications will not produce large capacity growth.

While Navigant Research does expect the market for fuel cell forklifts and APUs to continue to grow, it is the light duty vehicle (LDV) application that is expected to take off in the latter part of the forecast period. This application is expected to drive capacity volume in the transportation sector.

During 2013 and 2014, the fuel cell market continued to see the greatest demand from stationary applications, including utility-scale fuel cells, fuel cells for industrial and commercial buildings, and fuel cells for residential power. These markets are still very location-specific. Japan is focusing primarily on residential units, while North America and South Korea have adopted the larger fuel cell systems. Backup power is a market mainly in North America, but also in emerging economies – especially in Southeast Asia.

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