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DOE releases three reports showing strong growth in US fuel cell and hydrogen market

The US Department of Energy (DOE) released three new reports showcasing strong growth across the US fuel cell and hydrogen technologies market. According to these reports, the US continues to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. In 2012, nearly 80% of total investment in the global fuel cell industry was made in US companies.

The three reports are (1) the 2012 Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report, which describes data compiled in 2013 on trends in the fuel cell industry for 2012 with some comparison to previous years; (2) States of the States, Fuel Cells in America 2013, which provides an updated snapshot of fuel cell and hydrogen activity in the 50 states and District of Columbia; and (3) 2013 Pathways to Commercial Success: Technologies and Products Supported by the Fuel Cell Technologies Office, which updates the results of an effort to identify and characterize commercial and near-commercial (emerging) technologies and products that benefited from the support of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) and its predecessor programs within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

2012 Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report

This report was written and compiled by Sandra Curtin and Jennifer Gangi of Fuel Cells 2000, an activity of Breakthrough Technologies Institute in Washington, DC. Support was provided by the US Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fuel Cell Technologies Office.

The market report was written by staff of the Breakthrough Technologies Institute, Inc., in Washington, D.C. and funded through Argonne National Laboratory by the US Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. In general, the report finds, trends for the fuel cell industry were encouraging in 2012.

  • Total fuel cell shipments increased in 2012, in terms of total units and megawatts (MW). The total number of fuel cell systems shipped worldwide reached nearly 30,000 units in 2012. This is roughly a 34% increase over total shipments in 2011 and a 321% increase over total shipments in 2008. The stationary sector continues to drive overall shipment growth, increasing from about 2,000 shipments in 2008 to about 25,000 shipments in 2012.

  • The number of megawatts shipped on an annual basis more than doubled between 2008 and 2012, rising from about 60 MW to more than 120 MW. As with the total number of units shipped, the growth is being driven primarily by the stationary market, which has seen increases in both small and large units.

  • The number of fuel cell units manufactured in Asia continued to grow steadily, rising from about 13,500 units in 2011 to roughly 22,000 units in 2012. The majority of these units were stationary, due primarily to Japan’s residential fuel cell program. The number of fuel cells manufactured in North America also grew in 2012, rising to about 6,000 units in 2012. This is nearly double the number of units manufactured in 2011, with increases in both the stationary and transportation sectors.

  • Costs continued to decline, especially for light duty vehicle applications; the cost per kilowatt (kW) for high volume production of transportation fuel cells moved closer to DOE’s target of $30 per kW. The Carbon Trust also issued a report highlighting promising UK efforts that, according to the report, have the potential to achieve $36 per kW.

  • The US, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Japan, and other countries bolstered efforts to deploy hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

  • There were several collaboration announcements between automakers with regards to fuel cell electric vehicles, including Toyota and BMW’s long-term strategic collaboration to jointly develop a fuel cell system. Daimler, Ford, and Nissan joined forces to develop a common fuel cell system and launch commercial FCEVs as early as 2017.

  • In the stationary market, Bloom Energy announced that it was doubling the number of Bloom Energy Server installations and company revenue every six months. FuelCell Energy’s chief executive officer stated that the company was approaching profitability, perhaps as early as 2013. Markets for applications such as telecommunications and remote sensing continued to grow.

  • There was a significant amount of merger and acquisition activity in the industry, suggesting that investors see opportunities in fuel cells.

In short, 2012 was an important and pivotal year for the fuel cell industry. Sales and shipments generally were up, markets continued to develop, new strategic alliances were formed, and policies and supporting programs continued to be implemented that tend to favor the industry.

Light duty vehicles. Several major automakers, including Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai, are committed to producing commercial quantities in the 2015-2017 timeframe and reaffirmed those commitments in 2012. Several other automakers say they will not be far behind. The increased volume, coupled with continued technology improvements, is expected to result in significant price reductions, according to the report.

In January 2012, UKH2Mobility was launched (earlier post), bringing together three government agencies, the European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, and 13 corporate participants (including major automakers such as Daimler, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, and Tata Motors), hydrogen suppliers (such as Air Liquide and Air Products), and fuel cell manufacturers such as ITM Power.

In Phase II, UKH2Mobility will develop a business case and strategy for the deployment hydrogen infrastructure that will be necessary to support the anticipated introduction of FCEVs in the 2014-2015 timeframe.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) also took significant steps in 2012 planning for more hydrogen fueling stations in anticipation of the commercial availability of FCEVs in the 2015-2017 timeframe. In July, the CaFCP published A California Road Map: Bringing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles to the Golden State. (Earlier post.)

The Road Map, a collaborative effort among industry, government, and academia, concluded that a total of 68 hydrogen stations with a cumulative capacity to serve 20,000 vehicles must be operational in California by the beginning of 2016. California has nine publicly accessible stations, with 14 new or upgraded stations in development.

In aggregate, automakers anticipate that more than 50,000 FCEVs will be on the road in California five years from now.

States of the States, Fuel Cells in America 2013

This report recognizes California, Connecticut, New York, Ohio and South Carolina for leading the country with continued and expanded support for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. The report also highlights efforts in Delaware, New Jersey, Texas and other states to advance fuel cell technologies.

Across the United States, a number of cities and towns are also driving continued US leadership in the fuel cell industry. For example, San Diego has installed 2.4 megawatts of fuel cells and is using purified biogas from the Point Loma wastewater treatment plant to generate clean electricity for the city.

In Spartanburg, SC, BMW’s production facility now hosts the world’s largest fuel cell material handling fleet to date. BMW recently added 175 more fuel cell pallet trucks and forklifts, boosting its fleet to 275 across the 4-million-square foot plant. The Energy Department has also partnered with the Houston Galveston Area Council to operate 20 heavy duty hydrogen fuel cell electric hybrid trucks around the Port of Houston.

2013 Pathways to Commercial Success: Technologies and Products Supported by the Fuel Cell Technologies Office

This report identifies and documents the commercial and emerging (projected to be commercialized within the next 3 to 5 years) hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and products that resulted from DOE support. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) undertook two efforts simultaneously to accomplish this project.

The first effort was a patent search and analysis to identify patents related to hydrogen and fuel cells that are associated with FCTO-funded projects (or projects conducted by DOE-EERE predecessor programs) and to ascertain the patents’ current status, as well as any commercial products that may have used the technology documented in the patent.

The second effort was a series of interviews with current and past FCTO personnel, a review of relevant program annual reports, and an examination of grants made under the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs that are related to hydrogen and fuel cells.

The patent analysis identified 455 patents associated with research supported by FCTO dating back to 1977; 20 patents are currently used in commercial products and 63 are part of research now taking place on emerging technologies. In addition, 245 awarded patents are still being utilized via continuing research and/or active attempts to license the patent.

Of all the patents reviewed, 72% are still actively being pursued through use in continuing research, emerging technologies, or commercially available products.

PNNL also identified 41 commercial technologies that have entered the market, of which 39 are still commercially available. From 2000 – 2006, one to three commercial technologies entered the market per year. For 2007 through 2012, an average of five technologies per year entered into the market. In 2013, one technology has entered the market to date.

The researchers also identified 66 emerging technologies that are anticipated to be commercially available in 3 to 5 years. Of the 66 emerging technologies, 48% are in the fuel cell area, 38% are in the production/delivery area, and 14% are in the storage area.



Why are they not currently building more hydrogen stations ? They have to construct hydrogen stations now if they want a serious rollout in 2015 or even before with the hyundai tucson fuelcell. There is just a couple of hydrogen station in california so it won't be a serious rollout and there is no news about hydrogen stations currently been build.


Hyundai will do like Tesla and install a limited H2 station network in California in 2014.

Later on, the early limited network could be expanded and shared with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes, VW, and other FECVs producers?

Producing, distributing H2 may become a great business opportunity^


They constructed hydrogen stations for testing a couple of hydrogen fuelcell cars in california but now they plan a rollout of hydrogen cars for general car customers but they are silent about a rollout of hydrogen stations, this is a mess and it will be a fail like usual in the green car domain. This website is doing nothing about it and is probably sponsored by innefective goverment.


Who is "they"? The government is broke borrowing instead of taxing, the FCV makers have to do some of the heavy lifting. California has pledged 100 stations in the coming years, that is plenty. It is time for the car makers to help out.


The car makers should contract and provide financing for some third party to install and operate the hydrogen fueling business. Then other auto companies can join the party. Building the hydrogen stations themselves is outside of their business model and probably serves no long-term benefit for any one auto company. But helping someone else to start up would benefit all.


All FCEVs/BEVs manufacturers would gain from the accelerated installation of H2 and fast charging stations.

They could operate those stations at a lost (like Tesla does) for the first few years and rake in the profits latter when the FCEVs/BEVs fleet have grown to many millions in USA and worldwide.

They could even get significant incentives $$$ from States and Federal governments for each combined station.

Since H2 and Electricity and most of the stations hardware and installations would be 'home made', it would be an excellent 'make work' and economic boost program.

The huge secondary benefit would be a progressive reduction in GHG and Oil importation.


There is more being done in this regard in Germany than in the US. The Germans have developed a plan in great detail and are implementing it step by step.


Mannstein..I believe you.

Germany has better reasons than USA to promote alternative clean energies, instead of producing more local Coal, Shale Oil and Shale Gas.

Easy access to cheaper Coal, Shale Gas and Shale Oil in USA is working against greener energy sources.

The USA-Germany Gap will be much worst by 2020 or so.

In the not too distant future, many countries may think seriously about applying higher import duties on goods produced in countries using fossil fuel energy. China, USA, Canada, Australia and India will certainly not promote the idea.


Many interesting thoughts here. Hyundai’s point-of-view also might be worth a read. (Disclosure: I work for Hyundai.) Keep in mind too that Honda and Toyota have similar opinions on hydrogen to those in this blog post.

(paste this link into your browser)


It's amazing there's people still grasping at the "hydrogen economy" straw-man.

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