BOULDER, Colo. — According to a report from Pike Research, between 2008 and 2010, global fuel cell industry revenue climbed sharply, increasing from around $260 million in 2008 to nearly $670 million two years later — an increase of more than 250 percent. Looking ahead, the firm forecasts that growth in the industry will accelerate rapidly beginning in 2012, with strong growth anticipated over the next six years. Global fuel cell revenue is expected to surpass $28 billion by 2017.

“Shipments continue to pick up speed thanks to the breadth of applications being targeted by vendors,” said research director Kerry-Ann Adamson. “Fuel cells are being recognized as a highly effective tool for deploying reliable, clean power for stationary, portable, and transport applications.”

In its first Fuel Cells Annual Report, Pike Research provides a benchmark for the development of the industry. Thirty-plus applications across the stationary, portable, and transport sectors are measured. While fuel cells for transportation applications have received the most attention from the media, the real driver of the industry is the stationary fuel cell sector, stated Pike Research. In 2010, fully 50 percent of all fuel cell systems shipped were for stationary applications. Certain big-ticket markets, such as residential, are already seeing shipments in the tens of thousands. A number of early adopter sectors have emerged, including residential units (particularly in Japan), power for both grid-connected and off-grid mobile telecommunications base stations, and combined heat and power (CHP) plants for a variety of markets, including hospitals and hotels.

Portable fuel cells, meanwhile, have had their ups and downs, with a temporary spike in shipments in 2009 followed by a sharp decline in total sales in 2010. The fall-off in shipments for the portable sector led to a strong correction for the overall industry in 2010, as shipments essentially flatlined. That is expected to change, beginning next year. While cars and buses will continue to dominate the headlines, applications such as residential and uninterruptible power supplies will continue to gain traction and grow, Pike Research said.

Publication date: 11/21/2011