Global Fuel Cell Markets Quantified

Fuel cells continue to show great promise in a wide range of applications from powering laptop computers to cars and factories

Published: 08-Nov-2003

London (UK) – According to a new survey by online journal Fuel Cell Today (www.fuelcelltoday.com), a record-breaking 2,800 fuel cell systems will be produced in 2003. In total, the report reveals, nearly 7,000 such units have now been operated worldwide.

Fuel cells continue to show great promise in a wide range of applications from powering laptop computers to cars and factories. The annual survey, which can be accessed at www.fuelcelltoday.com/surveys, details developments across the whole range of the industry throughout the last twelve months. Amongst several highlights, its reveals that it is now possible for the general public to buy and operate a working fuel cell.

Co-author and Fuel Cell Today editor, Dr. David Jollie, comments, “Growth in the fuel cell industry has been very positive this year, with an increase of over sixty per cent in the number of systems produced.”  But, he cautions, “a sense of realism is important.  Introducing a completely new technology is a complex process involving many technical, commercial and regulatory challenges.”

Mark Cropper, the report’s second author, notes that development of fuel cell vehicle markets in particular will be slower than many commentators anticipated, but points out that rapid progress is being made elsewhere. “The portable fuel cell sector is being heavily supported by the military and by consumer electronics manufacturers. As the technology becomes smaller and ever more powerful, in this market we are getting very close to seeing the widespread availability of fuel cells.”

The survey shows continued progress in other segments too. For instance, field trials of stationary fuel cells are well advanced, helping companies to fine-tune products for powering residential or larger commercial and industrial premises. Higher profile though, is the deployment of fuel cells in transport. The number of fuel cell buses and cars has risen by 200 this year and the technology is also being applied in other vehicles, such as electric scooters and even submarines.

“Public interest has been stimulated by these prototype vehicles and government support in this area has increased greatly over the last twelve months too,” Jollie adds, “There is a huge amount of activity across North America, Europe and Asia. If we can maintain this level of interest, and investment, then the future for the fuel cell should be bright.”

To view this report in full, please visit: www.fuelcelltoday.com/worldwidesurvey

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