The US Department of Energy (DOE) released the 2013 edition of its annual Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report, detailing trends in the fuel cell and hydrogen technologies market. More than 35,000 fuel cell systems were shipped in 2013, an increase of more than 26% over 2012 and 400% more than 2008. In 2013, worldwide fuel cell industry sales surpassed $1 billion for the first time, reaching $1.3 billion.
Although early markets such as stationary power and material handling account for the bulk of sales, DOE noted that the fuel cell industry made “tremendous progress” in the light-duty transportation sector in 2013. Achievements include the launch of H2USA (earlier post), a public private partnership focusing on overcoming the barriers to hydrogen infrastructure. The UK launched a similar initiative called UK H2Mobility (earlier post). Hyundai began leasing its first series production fuel cell electric vehicle at select dealerships in Southern California. (Earlier post.)
Several automakers announced partnerships to advance fuel cell electric vehicles, including Daimler, Ford, and Nissan (earlier post); Honda and General Motors (earlier post); Toyota and BMW (earlier post); and Volkswagen and Ballard Power Systems (earlier post). Many automakers anticipate commercialization by 2017.
This work is in addition to the RD&D and commercialization plans of the individual companies involved. It is especially important to note that several of the companies—Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen and BMW—have previously focused primarily on battery-electric vehicles and other alternative fuels.—2013 Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report
In addition, eight states signed a Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate on zero-emission vehicle implementation. (Earlier post.)
Deployments and orders for fuel cells for telecommunications backup expanded into the Middle East, China, the Philippines, and other international markets. With more than 300 fuel cell-powered material handling equipment vehicles at its existing fleet in Spartanburg, South Carolina, BMW now claims the largest number at a single location in the world. A 14.9 MW fuel cell power park opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the world’s largest fuel cell power plant, 59 MW, was installed in Korea.
Intellectual property; automakers dominate. In 2013, there were 886 patents awarded to the fuel cell industry, down from 1024 in 2012. Automakers dominated. General Motors received the most fuel cell patents for the third year in a row, with 128. Toyota had the second highest with 110. Honda had 52, putting it in fourth place behind Samsung, but overall the company is number two as far as cumulative patents since 2002. By that measure, GM is also number one. Approximately 300 different entities were granted fuel cell patents in 2013.
The US had the most fuel cell patents in 2013 with 317 and since 2002, has 43% of the world’s fuel cell patents. At the state level, Michigan led the US with 139 patents, up 14 from last year. The rest of the top five, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio, have a cumulative total that is less than Michigan on its own.
Funding. In 2013, the DOE awarded $34,558,544 through its Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office to support fuel cell companies, universities and other organizations to further fuel cell and hydrogen research, development and deployment. This included funding through Funding Opportunity Announcements and the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at DOE also funded several projects in 2013.
On the state level, California continued to lead the United States with policies and funding programs that advance fuel cells and hydrogen infrastructure. In February, California issued the 2013 ZEV Action plan that identifies specific strategies and actions state agencies will take to meet a goal of 1.5 million ZEVs on the state’s roadways by 2025. In September, the governor of California signed Assembly Bill 8 (AB8) into law. AB8 provides funding for at least 100 hydrogen stations with a commitment of $20 million a year from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP).
Prior to the passage and signing of AB8, in June 2013, the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $18.69 million in grants to build new and upgrade existing hydrogen fueling stations around the state.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office publishes the Fuel Cell Market Report every year to describe data compiled in the previous year on trends in the fuel cell industry with some comparison to previous years.