SOURCE: The Freedonia Group, Inc.

June 28, 2005 10:24 ET

World Fuel Cell Demand to Reach US$2.6 Billion in 2009

CLEVELAND, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 28, 2005 -- Commercial demand for fuel cell products and services -- including revenues associated with prototyping and test marketing activities -- will increase close to sevenfold to $2.6 billion in 2009 and reach $13.6 billion in 2014. A number of viable markets for fuel cells are expected to develop over the next ten years as technological advances and economies of scale help drive costs down to competitive levels. World fuel cell spending (including research and development funding and investment in fuel cell enterprises, in addition to commercial sales) will more than double to $10.8 billion in 2009. These and other trends are presented in "World Fuel Cells," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

Electric power generation is emerging as the first large-scale commercial application for fuel cells and will account for more than half of global product and service demand through 2014. However, portable electronics applications are projected to register the strongest gains over the next ten years, rising from what are now extremely low levels of demand to become the second largest fuel cell market. Full cell-powered industrial stationary and motive power equipment will achieve some commercial success as well.

Motor vehicle-related fuel cell demand is potentially gigantic but has not yet lived up to its potential, constrained by technical and infrastructure-related issues, as well as by high cost barriers. Nevertheless, the use of fuel cell vehicles in government and commercial fleets will provide some impetus to market growth through 2014, as automakers continue to invest in demonstration and test marketing programs.

Proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, which currently account for well over half of world commercial demand, will maintain their dominant position through 2009 and beyond.

With a few notable exceptions (such as China), future demand for fuel cell products and services will largely be concentrated in geographic areas where pre-commercialization activity has been concentrated -- the US, Canada, parts of Western Europe and Japan. Fuel cells are also expected to find some use as a source of electricity in developing countries with inadequate central power grids.

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