Reduction in Prices Expected to Drive Global Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Market
The global solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) market is expected to reach close to $815.6 million by 2020, according to a research study released by Technavio. The market is expected to grow at a steady pace during the forecast period, driven by the increased usage of SOFCs as a primary and backup power generator for electronic devices such as CHP by residential and commercial end-users. In the past five years, thousands of m-CHP fuel cells have been installed in Europe and Asia due to the government support in making SOFCs a commercially viable technology.
One of the most successful schemes for fuel cell adoption has been the ene-farm scheme in Japan, which has resulted in more than 1,00,000 m-CHPs installations in the past five years. Initially, when it started in 2009, the ene-farm scheme used proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology, but since 2011, SOFC systems are also being installed.
“Vendors are using various inexpensive metals to reduce the price of SOFCs,” said Vishu Rai, analyst. “In addition, the increasing support from the government also reduces the price of SOFCs. For instance, Japan and Germany are sponsoring large field test programs for SOFCs and working to reduce the manufacturing cost of SOFCs. As SOFC deployments and the size of the systems increase, the capital cost per unit decreases. This reduction in price will greatly influence the acceptance of SOFCs across various end users, allowing them to be used in a variety of applications.”
The global SOFC transportation application is likely to reach $128 million by 2020. SOFCs are used as auxiliary power units (APUs) for onboard electronics in luxury vehicles, heavy trucks, and recreational vehicles. SOFCs can provide continuous electrical power for longer durations. In addition, the use of SOFC is increasing in diesel trucks as it helps reduce both diesel consumption and the noise generated by the engine. In the U.S., more than 500,000 long-haul trucks constituting the current U.S. fleet consume 3.8 billion liters of diesel a year when idling, which is equivalent to travelling 6.83 billion miles, producing 11 million tons of CO2 and 180,000 tons of NOx. By using SOFC, the CO2 and NOx emissions can be cut back.
The portable segment is the fastest growing application segment in the global SOFC market. The growth of this segment is attributed to the increasing usage of SOFC in small power generators, military vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Portable SOFCs can be used instead of large batteries and generators, providing higher efficiency and lower emissions than most traditional diesel-based generators. The increasing application of SOFCs in APUs is expected to drive the global market in the future. Researchers also expect the increasing adoption of SOFCs in portable applications such as the military sector and in UAVs and drones to boost the market growth.
For more information, visit www.technavio.com.