In its Fuel Cells Annual Report 2012, Pike Research forecasts that the fuel cell industry—including all applications in the stationary, portable, and transport sectors— will reach $15.7 billion in 2017. Due to a jump in orders in 1Q 2012, the industry is on target to surpass the billion-dollar mark by the end of 2012.
The period 2014/2015 remains critical in terms of transitioning from a niche industry to starting to move into the mainstream, according to Pike.
The global fuel cell industry posted a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83% during the period from 2009 to 2011. However, Pike notes, the industry is still small and suffers from a pattern of expansion and contraction. During 2011, for example, system shipments in the portable fuel cell sector contracted by 16% on a year-over-year basis, and in the process the sector lost a number of companies.
The stationary sector posted the highest growth in 2011, primarily driven by the surge of interest in residential combined heat and power (resCHP) systems in Japan following the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Companies such as FuelCell Energy increased their production. As a result, system shipments in the global stationary sector in 2011 grew by 75% over 2010 and posted a 2009-2011 CAGR of 63%.