Fuel Cell Industry Chain Improving at a Rapid Pace

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Domestic fuel cell engine output power (55kW) is way behind the counterpart (80~100kW) overseas has announced the addition of a new research study on the global and China Fuel cell industry chain, titled “Global and China Fuel Cell Industry Chain Report, 2014-2016”, to its comprehensive research report database. The report states that the fuel cell industry supply chain is gradually improving, after going through more than two decades of research and development. The report states that the worldwide shipment of fuel cells stood at 215.3MWh in the year 2013, of which the biggest percent share (nearly 187MW) was contributed by large power stations utilizing stationary fuel cells. These demands for stationary fuel cells from large power stations were primarily concentrated in America, Japan and S. Korea for applications such as IT data center, and combined heat and power generation.

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The current state of the fuel cell industry supply chain is rather mature and improving gradually at a good pace. Out of the three major issues faced by fuel cell technology including, cost minimization, low-temperature operations, and durability, the latter two have been well addressed through research and technological developments. In the past 3-4 years, the Pt consumed by fuel cell catalysts has greatly reduced and the costs of fuel cell systems have dropped by more than 50% of the earlier. Durability of fuel cells has also now stretched to 10 years.

The report states that the global fuel cell industry chain will highly benefit from the developing industry of fuel cell vehicles and improving fuel cell vehicles technologies. The report studies the global and China fuel cell industry chain based upon patents, market size of various market elements, shipments, and chief companies operating in the global and China fuel cell systems market.

Big automobile companies such as Hyundai and Toyota are planning to launch at least 1,000 fuel cell vehicles each in 2015, priced between US$50,000-100,000, a 90% cost cut as opposed to the cost of these kind of vehicles only a year ago. The report states that though the automobile section has a relatively smaller share of the fuel cell industry, this application segment emerged as the most important market segment in 2014. This market segment presents huge growth potential for the market in the near future.

Though the China market offers high growth opportunities for the global fuel cell industry, it considerably lags behind the scope of this industry in developed countries. This is quite evident from a number of important figures such as, the domestic output power of fuel cell engine in China (55 kW) and in industries overseas (80-100kW), and service life of domestic sedan fuel engines in China (2,000 hours) and in industries abroad (5,000 hours).        

Very few Chinese companies have ventured in the fuel cell industry, and contribute very little to the overall revenue amassed by the global fuel cell industry chain. Amongst these are companies such as Sunrise Power Co., Ltd., SAIC MOTOR, and Shanghai Shen-li High Tech Co., Ltd. Of these, SAIC MOTOR has continuously invested in R&D of hydrogen fuel cell.

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