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Technavio forecasts 45% CAGR in automotive fuel cell market through 2019

The global fuel cell market in the automotive industry is set to grow at a rapid CAGR of more than 45% (in terms of unit shipments) through 2019, according to a new report by global technology research and advisory company Technavio.

Technavio calculated the market size for 2015-2019 based on the revenue generated from the global units and MW shipments of fuel cells in the automotive industry.

The fuel cell market in the automotive industry is dominated by APAC. This region shipped 2,349 units in 2014; Technavio expects shipments of 14,650 units by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 44.2%. APAC accounted for more than 70% of the global unit shipments in 2014 but this figure is expected to drop to 68% by 2019.

Heavy investments in fuel cell devices and advances in technology are two factors propelling the market growth in this region. The growing need for reducing energy consumption in the transportation sector will also fuel the market in APAC.

—Technavio lead automotive manufacturing research analyst Sayani Roy

Rapid development of hydrogen infrastructures fostered by companies, such as HySUT, JX Nippon Oil and Energy, and Iwatani, is boosting the market significantly. Initiatives taken by the Chinese government to stimulate commercial funding of new energy vehicles will also contribute to the growing application of fuel cells in the transportation sector in APAC.

Some of the vendors in the automotive industry highlighted in the report are ACAL; Ballard Power Systems; Hydrogenics Nuvera Fuel Cells; Plug Power; Delphi Automotive Systems; EnergyOR Technologies; H2 Logic, and Symbio FCell.

The fuel cell market in the automotive industry in the Americas shipped 646 units in 2014 and is expected to ship 4,403 units by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 46.8%.

The US is the major contributor to the market in the Americas because of strong support from the US government and initiatives taken by the US Department of Energy (DoE) for the development of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.

—Sayani Roy

The hydrogen infrastructure project, H2USA, launched by the US government is intended to boost hydrogen infrastructure in the country, which will positively influence the market growth. The state of California is the forerunner in hydrogen legislation and infrastructure in the country. The US is expected to provide maximum unit shipments during the forecast period.

Other key leading countries:

  • Germany. The presence of many domestic fuel cell developers, government support, and the need to curb carbon emissions are fueling the demand for fuel cells in Germany. Increased demand to conserve energy has also encouraged many private players to invest in the development of fuel cells, propelling the market. Increased application of fuel cells in the transportation sector, especially in public transport and material handling vehicles, will significantly contribute to the market growth in the country.

  • Japan. Japan is the major market for fuel cells in APAC. The country has a strong fuel cell supply chain network and various regional alliances for the development of fuel cells. In addition, a reduction in fuel cell prices has increased the participation of domestic manufacturers, which is helping the market grow significantly.


Henry Gibson

The very high efficiency of hydraulic hybrids, which have far higher braking energy recovery and much lower capital costs, mostly eliminate the need for automotive fuel cells as they reduce city driving fuel use by half or more without even the optimization of smaller more efficient engines and without the need of expensive high power electronic motor drives and motors and their greater weight even excluding large batteries. Biofuels are not anymore needed to reduce automotive energy use and carbon release by at least 40 percent.

Michel Hartmut, Nobel Prize winning biochemist, explained in a recent article why replanting biofuel plantations with trees that are never burned will remove more carbon from the air than the making and use of the bio-fuel does because of the photosynthetic inefficiencies in spite of the US government figure that 100 units of fossil energy is used to produce 123 units of biofuel energy. He states roughly; that it is far more efficient to set up solar cells on the crop land and use the electricity in electric vehicles, and even direct photosynthetic hydrogen production wastes too much energy. (((

The small battery electric vehicle has a big market in the size as what is known in the US as a golf cart. They could have twice the range at lower cost If someone in China would build the Sodium nickel batteries in large quantities and at low cost that Ge refuses to do. Such vehicles would meet most of the trip requirements of most people in the US, and a tiny inefficient model airplane engine could serve as a low speed, 100 mile range extender on very rare occasions. The RCV engine from the UK is an example. ..HG..


Something less than 15,000 FC units in 2019, while Tesla alone sold over 50,000 EVs in 2015.

Hydrogen is a decade late and a $trillion short.


Yes FCs and H2 stations have a lot of catching up to do but with a 40%/year to 60%/year growth it could be done by 2025 or so.

Initial 100 KW FC cost and weight will soon be much lower than equivalent (125+ kWh) battery pack and will give superior performances in cold weather areas + much quicker refills.

FCs will corner the market for quick refill extended range cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, locomotives etc.

A half size FC could also become the e-generator of choice for clean PHEVs.


Given the competing bulk and weight of hydrogen tanks vs. traction batteries, I predict that there will be no HFC-PHEV offerings by 2020.

A 100 kW FC is underpowered by many driver's standards.  The Model S, Leaf and other EVs are touted for their sprightly driving characteristics; FCs will be stodgy by comparison.  Ceding the entire performance-vehicle category, at premium fuel prices, is the kiss of death.


Use reformers, you will have all the fuel you need without combustion.


But there goes your zero carbon emissions (unless you use ammonia), and the whole "fossil-free, renewable" selling point goes out the window.


Ammonia is the best candidate for pipelining hydrogen. Fischer -Tropch reforming into pure hydrogen . Water suppression of gas leak will make safe. Windmill electrolysis in mid west and transport to markets through existing ammonia network for farms.
The FC catalyst are making large gains in platinum reduction or substitution, should drive down the power plant to ICE costs. Batteries will never make into the sub $30k for 200+mile range and never get beyond 80% quick charging or blow up battery cells. California and desert states need to advantage of solar to make cheap hydrogen close to their markets. Hydrogen can close the carbon cycle loop for cars better then coal to battery charge.

Solarsurfer> Batteries will never make into the sub $30k for 200+mile range

CM has already announced that the new Bolt will meet that price/performance point by the end of this year, an that battery prices will drop by another 30% by 2020.

Do you really think progress will halt then?

Physics permits batteries 13x as energy dense as today's lithium ion.


Analysts are already saying that the Gigafactory will cut the cost of a Tesla P85 battery to less than $10k.  It's likely under $30k today.

Unlike hydrogen, electricity has the production and transportation problems licked.  Storage is only required on the vehicle, not in transit.  The one miracle is mostly here already.  Hydrogen is dead.

Account Deleted

E.C.I. the Bolt cost 37k USD (not 30k) has a 60kwh battery and is comparable to a 20k USD gasser that does 400 miles on a tank and refuels nearly instantly. The Bolt is a lot of progress compared to the Leaf but it is still far from becoming mass market. In 2035 we may get to 100 USD per kwh at the pack level including gross profit. That is optimistic IMO and getting lower than 100 USD per kwh will be very difficult. It means a 100kwh pack that can do the needed 300 miles for the Bolt will add 10k USD on top of the price of a comparable gasser that has a 50 USD gas tank.

I have therefore concluded that BEVs will never be mass market self-owned cars because that 10k USD battery is too much for an otherwise 15 to 20k USD car. For mass market BEVs to happen we need autonomous BEVs that can do 100,000 miles per year and be durable for 1 million miles and thus be able to spread the cost of the battery over many more miles than possible by a gasser and also take advantage of low electricity cost and maintenance per mile.

In about 2018 Tesla will launch a new version of their cars that can drive 100% autonomous on all roads in nearly all kinds of weather. It will not be legal to use it as such (unless you sit in the driver seat ready to take over in a situation that will never happen in a lifetime because of a redundant autopilot system) but the law will be changed when (disabled) people start to protest against not being able to take advantage of them in full and when Tesla has gathered enough data to make it clear beyond any doubt that autonomous driving is safer than human driving. I expect Tesla will be allowed to start a commercial autonomous taxi service somewhere in the world by 2020 (initially based on Model 3) and that it will become the key value driver for Tesla in the subsequent years. Tesla will keep selling luxurious cars including the Model 3 but it will be a diminishing part of their business.


There are two main aspects of battery development that are commonly ignored. The first aspect is cell chemistry and the second is cell architecture / structure.
A cell price issue definitely is Lithium; it is not rare but it is scarce. It is limited and can easily be monopolized akin to oil. That is not to my liking; is it to yours?
On the other hand, Sodium cannot be monopolized; it is available everywhere worldwide. Just lately, remarkable cell advances have been achieved in Europe and Korea with this cell chemistry and underlines justified hopes that Sodium can be an appropriate replacement for Lithium.
All cell/battery architectures presently available on the world market are of the 2-D (two dimensional type). Prof- Prieto has been the first to present a new, functional 3-D cell type. Her approach is truly an ingenious stroke to a brilliant solution.
If everything pans out as it should, we shall have batteries unparalleled in reliability, energy and power capacity, volume and weight.
Prieto's approach is still based on Lithium but I harbour the strong conviction that it is solely a question of time to determine solutions based on Sodium.
I recommend a thorough investigation of all information available at:


You can use sodium, magnesium, aluminum, even calcium for batteries. Finding the right combination of anode, cathode, electrolyte and solvent is the trick. If it were easy we would have found it decades ago.


The invention of just one battery technology that's "good enough" (Li-ion, with NiMH and NaNiCl as understudies) creates a market big enough to support much more basic research into such things.  The harder people look, the faster things will be found.

Account Deleted

The webpage of Western Lithium informs that this Nevada based mine contains a total of 11 million tones of lithium carbonate. Another webpage (see links below) informs that 85% of the Nevada resource is minable so about 9.35 million ton of lithium carbonate. To get this into perspective it requires 0.6kg of lithium carbonate to produce 1 kWh of lithium batteries (may vary from chemistry to chemistry but roughly so). In other words, the Nevada site could be used to produce ((1000/0.6)*9.35) = 15.6 billion kWh of lithium batteries or about 1 billion Volt PHEVs or 650 million Nissan Leaf EVs.

And that was just one possible mine in the US. Countries like Chile still has the cheapest lithium carbonate on the planet and can mine it for about 2000 USD per ton. This is also possible in Tibet and Bolivia. At 10.000 USD per ton the Nevada site is probably good business. That price will still only be (10000/(1000/0.6)) = 6 USD worth of lithium carbonate for 1 kWh of lithium battery that currently cost minimum 200 USD to produce.

Most importantly lithium can be extracted from the salt in sea water. You can get that cheaply from desalination facilities. That sypply will be all humanity ever will need for this solar system. Lithium is not to worry about.


Nice post about lithium production Henrik. +1 SJC for pointing out that there are many chemistry options for energy dense batteries.

Henrik, you may believe that $100 kWh is not achievable, but GM has already publicly announced at a business summit that they expect to pay $100 kWh by 2020. Considering that they are one of the biggest consumers of Li-Ion on the planet, I'll take Mary Barra's projection over yours.

Hope you're not betting against that in the market.


Hydraulic and/or batteries are great for local driving, not so much for over the road. Unless we go to a Hyperloop, high speed train, or PRT system for intercity transport (products, not just people), we need other approaches. Fuel cells are one possibility. I am not good at predicting the future. I just can't rule anything out - particularly technologies that companies are spending millions of dollars on. Wait and see.


It's really easy.

I predict that by 2030 or so there will still be steam trains, horse and oxen teams, and mules in some areas. Gondola's and canoes will have a resurgence as will sail prove increasingly popular. Push bikes will outnumber cars in total and everyone will have at least one pair of shoes.

Pedal powered flight will not be popular except with those competing in 'trans channel' competitions and their relatives.

I'm good for six of the above (care to guess?) but as far as F.C. BEV's or ICE, I would think that there will be evolution according to the local conditions of usage and the localised availability of different energy options.

There will be legitimate R.E. sources across all technologies but the electron will find its age as new enabling technologies make it the cheapest most efficient way of 'energy to work' solutions.


May 2, 2014, 3:25 pm EST
"These new stations, combined with the nine existing stations and 17 stations already under construction, will give California 54 hydrogen stations open to the public by the end of next year."


"FirstElement Fuel Inc. is expected to open 19 hydrogen fueling stations throughout California in October 2015, made possible by $27.2 million in grants from the California Energy Commission and a $7.2 million loan from Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp."

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