According to a new report from Pike Research, the fuel cell industry could reach $15.7 billion in 2017, but a number of challenges must be overcome in order to see that growth take place.
The company's report addresses all fuel cell applications in the transportation, stationary and portable sectors, where total shipments broke the 20,000 barrier for the first time, Pike Research says. From 2009 to 2011, the fuel cell industry grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83%.
However, the research firm – a part of Navigant's Energy Practice – explains that 2011 was a ‘decidedly mixed year,’ in that the historical growth/contraction pattern of the fuel cell industry continued to be evident. For example, system shipments in the portable fuel cell sector contracted by 16% on a year-over-year basis in 2011, and the sector lost a large number of companies.
‘While the fuel cell industry posted growth last year, vendors still face significant headwinds,’ says research director Kerry-Ann Adamson. ‘The transport sector continued to grow in 2011, but the continued movement towards the launch of fuel cell light-duty vehicles in the 2015 time frame has created a gap between today's ambitions and tomorrow's potential.’
The 2014-2015 time frame remains critical in terms of transitioning from a niche industry to moving into the mainstream, the company says. The industry is at the beginning of the cost curve, and major cost reductions in fuel cell stacks are to be expected over the next five to 10 years. But the report says that, right now, producers are largely limited to markets with strong subsidies or high-value early adopters.
More details about ‘Fuel Cells Annual Report 2012’ can be found HERE.