The US Department of Energy (DOE) released three new reports today showcasing strong growth across the US fuel cell and hydrogen technologies market. According to these reports, the United States continues to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.
With support from the Energy Department, its national laboratories and private industry have already achieved significant advances in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, resulting in reduced costs and improved performance. These research and development efforts have helped reduce automotive fuel cell costs by more than 50% since 2006 and by more than 30% since 2008. At the same time, fuel cell durability has quadrupled and the amount of expensive platinum needed in fuel cells has decreased by 80 percent in the last decade.
Building on this progress, earlier this month the Energy Department announced more than $35 million to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. (Earlier post.)
The available funding includes hydrogen production, delivery, and storage research and development (R&D); demonstration of infrastructure component manufacturing, and support for Climate Action Champions deploying hydrogen and fuel cell technologies; consortia topics for fuel cell performance and durability and advanced hydrogen storage materials research; and cost and performance analysis for hydrogen production, storage, and fuel cells.
The three new reports detail continued strength in the US fuel cell and hydrogen technologies market as well as efforts by US businesses and states to increase American competitiveness in this growing global industry.
State Of The States. The State of the States, Fuel Cells in America 2015 report highlights leadership among US states to grow domestic fuel cell manufacturing and deployment. The report recognizes California, Connecticut, and New York for leading the country with continued and expanded support for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. The report also highlights efforts in Colorado, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Ohio as rising stars in the hydrogen and fuel cell industry.
Across the United States, a number of businesses are also driving continued US leadership in the fuel cell industry. Nearly 10% of Fortune 500 companies use fuel cells to generate power. When examining the top 100 companies on the Fortune list, the number grows, with almost 25% using fuel cells to power data centers, cell phone towers, corporate buildings, retail facilities, or forklifts.
Customers include companies such as Apple, AT&T, Verizon, Kroger, JPMorgan Chase, Google, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, Target, and Lowe’s. Walmart is the largest fuel cell customer for material handling equipment (MHE), deploying the technology to power more than 2,800 forklifts at warehouses in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota, with more sites on the way. Over the last few years, AT&T has deployed fuel cells to provide primary power to almost two dozen data and call centers, as well as backup power to hundreds of cell phone towers in multiple states.
Annual Progress Report. The 2015 Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Annual Progress Report documents more than 1,000 pages of accomplishments achieved by Energy Department-funded projects in the last year. The report highlights major programmatic achievements, including:
launching the $1-million H2 Refuel H-Prize;
demonstrating the world’s first fleet of hydrogen fuel cell airport ground support equipment;
establishing national laboratory-led consortia in key R&D areas; and
supporting the public-private partnership, H2USA, through national-lab led efforts developing financial assessment tools for hydrogen infrastructure and critical equipment to validate the performance of hydrogen stations as they come on line.
Each individual project team provides a summary of their annual progress.
Pathways To Commercial Success. According to the third report, Pathways to Commercial Success: Technologies and Products Supported by the Fuel Cell Technologies Office, the Energy Department’s fuel cell research and development efforts over the last decade have helped develop 40 commercial technologies and 65 new technologies that are expected to reach commercial-scale within the next three to five years. In addition, Energy Department fuel cell R&D has resulted in more than 515 US patents.