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Pike Research forecasts more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations to be operational worldwide by 2020

Hydrogen demand from LDVs, buses, forklifts, UPS, and scooters, worldwide 2010-2020. Source: Pike. Click to enlarge.

According to a new report from Pike Research, more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations for cars, buses and forklifts will be operational worldwide by 2020, up from just 200 stations in 2010. The cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that, by the end of that period, annual investment in hydrogen stations will reach $1.6 billion, with a cumulative 10-year investment totaling $8.4 billion.

Pike Research expects global demand for hydrogen fuel to reach 418 million kg annually by 2020. This reflects a 2010-2020 CAGR of 88% globally. Cumulative demand will be relatively low—less than 50 million kg—from 2010 through 2014. In 2015, demand will reach around 55 million kg and will grow dramatically from that point. Such growth will be caused by the projected introduction of commercial LDVs in 2015.

LDVs are one of the big drivers of hydrogen fuel demand in the late part of the forecast period, according to Pike. The increased utilization of hydrogen as a fuel will drive annual demand from approximately 775,000 kilograms (kg) in 2010 to 418 million kg by 2020.

There is no one clear business model for the hydrogen infrastructure market at present. Currently, the major players in hydrogen fueling are large multinationals: the industrial gas companies, and the energy and gas companies, both those that operate retail gas stations and those that provide fuels for the grid. These companies tend to favor large-scale hydrogen infrastructure options.

—Pike senior analyst Lisa Jerram

Jerram adds that some smaller “independent” hydrogen suppliers that are developing and marketing smaller onsite hydrogen generator technologies could offer a more modular path to hydrogen infrastructure buildout. Yet another pathway is presented by vehicles using very small quantities of hydrogen, such as scooters. These vehicles can be fueled by small solid state hydrogen cartridges, which are readily distributed in retail outlets.

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that forklifts will be the largest driver of hydrogen fuel demand by 2020, representing 36% of the total market by that time. The other large application categories include light duty vehicles, which will consume 33% of total hydrogen, and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) for stationary power, which will represent 27% of the total. Fuel cell buses and scooters will each be a relatively small percentage of total hydrogen demand.



LOL "Such growth will be caused by the projected introduction of commercial LDVs in 2015."

Yeah, there will be a few hundred in some government fleet somewhere.


We're in the 5th decade of taxpayer handouts to the hydrogen scam. MY random number generator says there will be 23,598 hydrogen fueling stations to be operational worldwide by 2020.


The best is to put a small integrated hydrogen maker into the hydrogen car or truck. Hydrogen generators and compressors and tanks don't need to be huge.


Sounds like they're trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

'Hey, don't worry about buying our hydrogen cars and not having anywhere to refuel them. In a few years there will be thousands of stations everywhere.'


It is difficult to predict future technologies. Both FCs and BEVs may be around in large numbers by 2020/2025. Certain vehicles like long range trucks and city + Urban long range buses could use FCs, specially where filling stations exist.

Massive use of both technologies could reduce crude oil imports for USA and liberate corn for the millions currently starving.

Roger Pham

Hydrogen is the perfect replacement fuel for petroleum.
H2 can be produced domestically with renewable energy, thereby phasing out petroleum importation and achieving energy independence. The intermittency problem of solar and wind energy can be solved by storing excess electricity in the form of H2 locally from electrolysis of water using electricity produced hundreds of miles or even thousands of miles away.

With recent advancements such as low-cost, no-platinum, electrolyzer and fuel cell, the gradual switch to H2 will make a lot of sense. Oil spills and oil pollution and air pollution will be things of the past. Millions of new jobs will be created domestically during the build up and for maintaining the H2 infrastructure and vehicles, as well as the renewable energy solar and wind infrastructures.


How does a forklift refueling station qualify with a passenger vehicle station?


RP: your approach makes too much sense, specially for USA, China, India and EU, where crude oil have to be imported at great cost. Oil Cos, with their huge funds and influence, will do whatever is required to stop or delay that from happening.

Instead, we may see USA and China each importing 3+ m/barrels/day of not so clean oil extracted from Alberta tar sands by 2020/2025 or so.

The alternative would be to massively transform NG/SG and Coal into liquid fuel in those two very large markets. More corn and sugar cane based ethanol is not the answer.


5200 stations world wide still effectively means no place to refuel your HFCV passenger vehicle. Still a giant fail.

Roger Pham

5200 stations world wide will be only the beginning. HFCV's that do not have to leave town will benefit from intracity H2 fueling stations. BEV's are not good for long-distance driving, either. Fleet vehicles such as delivery vehicles, government vehicles, taxis, and second cars are all intracity vehicles and can all be FCV's or BEV's. Most households these days have two cars or more anyway. The gasoline-powered vehicles can be designated as the out-of-town vehicles.

Oil Cos, aka Big Oil, can be the problem or can take part in becoming the solution. They have the deep pocket and the know-how to make things happen. They should have enough self confidence in knowing that they will do very well in the future renewable energy economy. In fact, with their vast amount of influence in many democratic governments of the world, they can invest heavily in renewable energy developments and then help write the laws to ensure that their investments will pay off.

Big Oil are not a bunch of aliens from outer space. They are human beings whose future and the future of their progeny depend on environmental preservation and maintenance of social stability. The extreme violence and lawlessness south of the USA's border are not examples of social stability, and that came from economic deterioration due to massive job lost to technology, productivity gain, and globalism.

Environmental preservation will create jobs, local jobs that will reverse the current trend in social deterioration and social instability world wide. Professor Al Gore, where art thou and why thee has not preach these to the world?


RP...unfortunately, Big Oil is investing into new ways to produce more liquid fuels to extend the life of gas guzzlers which served them so well.

Yes, in order to create more local jobs, accelerated transition to FC and electrified vehicles would be far superior to more liquid fuel vehicles.

Are Big Oil Cos prepared to make the switch to electricity, batteries, solar cells and fuel cells supply and transform their gas stations into Hydrogen and/or e-charge stations? That could be the way to their assured survival.


Big Oil can transition to FCs, but not electric vehicles. The price of electricity is too low, and the number of alternative sources too great, to give them even a fraction of the margins they command today. To go electric is to cede their wealth and power, and they'll hold onto that at all costs.

Big Oil has promoted hydrogen FC vehicles because it keeps them in the running; it is no big jump to go from converting crude oil to gasoline to converting coal or NG to hydrogen. But any fool can make electricity, and the last thing Big Oil needs is real competition.


Roger Pham

The vat majority of H2 is currently produced by off gas from cracking processes or by using CH4. In that context yourt statement 'Hydrogen is the perfect replacement fuel for petroleum.H2 can be produced domestically with renewable energy, thereby phasing out petroleum importation and achieving energy independence.' makes absolutely no sence.
While the US may be able to produce it domestically (unlikely as Canadian gas will probably be used) it would probably better off to just use CH$ in the first place.

Chad Snyder

engineer poet-

yeah, any fool can make electricity, yet almost all of it is produced from fossil fuels. why is big coal so much better than big oil?

moreover, groups like erpi suggest the big interim future for electricity production is natural gas, no big oil connections there.


it's not really a hydrogen scam, if a scam, its a fuel cell scam. however, let's remember, a lot of fuel cell research was derived out of NASA, just like a considerable bulk of lithium-ion battery research -- easily three decades -- which was also funded for decades by taxpayers as well.

it's not as if lithium batteries just suddenly came into being.


re hydrogen, i'd say the future will definitely include fuel cells, whether a hydrogen fueling infrastructure is needed is another matter. bioreformers, for instance, might make such an infrastructure irrelevant. considering the work going on within the artificial photosynthesis community, such reformers could significantly reduce the need for any new infrastructure in the US.

obviously, such reformers probably aren't just around the corner, but neither is a super cheap 300 mile battery refueled almost primarily by sustainable resources and utilized by the majority of the fleet.

yes, batteries could make fuel cells and all liquid fuels irrelevant, but i doubt it. it would take one helluva battery breakthrough, for instance, to power a fully loaded jumbo jet with electricity.


Infrastructure isnt an issue. It will cost only a small portion of revenue over a few decades to build it out. Its highly unlikely we will need either car in mass amounts before then.

There simply is more then large enough of a market to fund this bugger not just cars but trucks and forklifts and on and on...

People oddly keep thinking in terms of all or nothing. Its going to be a new world withy alot of different options all running at the same time. I doubt any one or two techs will win out for at least 50-60 years. And even then I fully expect 2-3 different techs will share the load for 1-200 years to come.

Roger Pham

It's true what you've stated that: "the vast majority of H2 is currently-produced by off gas from cracking process or from CH4...", but that relects only the present.
Sadly, the present also presents us with huge economic crises in most parts of the world, deep budget deficits in the majority of governments world-wide, massive unemployment problem, increase in violence, lawlessness and social breakdown associated with long-term unemployment...environmental degradation from droughts, floods the result of climate change, oil spills, nuclear contamination etc.

I am presenting an alternative future using renewable energy and H2 as the main actors in order to simultaneously solve most if not all of current socio-economic-environmental the engine of job creation, economic growth, environmental preservation, and to reverse the trend in global warming...

The Stone Age did not end due to the shortage of stones, so why can we not end the fossil-fuel age NOW, leaving behind a lot of fossil fuel left for future generations to use as reserve energy souces?

Roger Pham

Of course, Big Oil is against BEV, unless they've invested a lot in battery manufacturing, and they haven't, because the market acceptance of BEV is still very uncertain. Range is too short and it takes too long to charge. Not so for H2 and FCV. An H2-FCV has comparable range to a petrol vehicle and can be filled-up just as fast. Around 2015, the auto mfg's will release FCV's to the mass market, and if Big Oil will invest sufficiently in local H2 filling infrastructures, then the Hydrogen economy will really take off.

any fool can make electricity, yet almost all of it is produced from fossil fuels.
Ah, oil-company propaganda about electricity. FYI, more than 10% of US electricity comes from renewables, and over 20% from nuclear power. Less than half is from coal, and that fraction is shrinking.
why is big coal so much better than big oil?
Our suppliers of coal may be willing to destroy our environment, but they aren't going to cut off supplies on a whim or finance mass-murder plots in the name of "charity".

There's real competition in the electric industry, and it's ours. Electric power can be generated by anyone with a PV panel or wind turbine. Nuclear power isn't competitive for making liquid fuels, but it's a carbon-free supply of electricity to the tune of roughly 10 TWH/yr per new reactor. It's much better to have many domestic suppliers and options for our motive energy than a hostile foreign cartel.

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