“Stationary fuel cells have the potential to slow the rate at which energy demands for the home increase and to increase energy efficiency,” said research director Kerry-Ann Adamson. “Particularly as the role of the home shifts from a family sanctuary to also being the hub of a personal communications network, vendors see great potential for fuel cells to help moderate and manage the energy required to power the myriad applications that 21st century residents desire.”
Early centers of stationary fuel cell adoption include Japan, Germany, and Denmark, particularly for residential CHP applications, while the United States, United Kingdom, and South Korea are poised to be fast followers in this key application area. In Japan, the Ene-Farm program, which aims to promote widespread adoption of residential CHP modules, already resulted in the shipment of 6,000 units by 2009.
While such growth in the midst of a global recession is impressive, the industry faces market and technology barriers, noted Pike Research. Raising the profile of stationary fuel cells is a key priority for the industry, as are standardizing the technology and reducing the capital expense of manufacturing and purchasing the units. While there are some 60-plus companies with active development programs, only a handful of these are shipping units that could be considered commercial. In 2010, Pike Research estimates, just five companies represented more than three-quarters of all unit shipments in the global market.
Publication date: 11/28/2011