Slower Than Expected Market Development Limit Early Stationary Fuel Cell Shipments, Says ABI

A lack of commercial products along with stressed electricity markets have hindered market development for stationary fuel cells, according to a new report from technology research firm ABI.

A lack of commercial products along with stressed electricity markets have hindered market development for stationary fuel cells, according to a new report from technology research firm ABI. Although Blackout 2003 pointed out the importance of distributed generation - as well as the possibility of fuel cells in the energy portfolio mix - it has not translated into an increased number of orders. Overall activity level in the fuel cell sector has kept its pace in the U.S., but market activity in Japan and Western Europe has been on the rise.


Global stationary fuel cell cumulative shipments will rise to nearly 18,000 megawatts (MW) in 2013 from 55 MW in 2003, according to ABI's moderate projections. "Although the US is still dominating the markets, robust market activity in Japan has been phenomenal and could lead to limited commercial systems in 2004-2005," explains Atakan Ozbek, ABI's Director of Energy Research. "Japan is on target for a commercial launch in 2005 for residential markets." ABI's study shows early markets for stationary fuel cells taking place in telecommunication backup centers and data centers, as well as wastewater treatment plants where fuel cells can use fuel "free of charge."

Continues Ozbek: "On one level, fuel cell developers did not find what they had hoped for in 2003 in terms of market development. However, there are some companies that have been executing their strategies as planned and already have a backlog of orders into 2004, which will lead to commercial sustainability in 2005."

ABI's global stationary market study exposes early potential opportunities for markets that can see deployment from 50 watts to 30 megawatts in the US, Japan, Western Europe, and the rest of the world. The study also shows that quality power and industrial power supply markets are expected to see higher growth rates than residential markets. Industrial markets already have started to embrace fuel cell power systems, and they will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The largest growth potential here will be seen in the small to medium sized industrial markets.

The ABI report, "Stationary Fuel Cell Markets: A Global Market Analysis, Major Player Strategies and Forecasts," provides thorough market snapshots and forecasts for a range of technologies related to stationary fuel cells. Summary discussions of the current regulatory practices, tax practices, environmental regulations and business considerations affecting the present and future uptake of stationary fuel cell technologies are also provided. The report also examines the influences of legislation governing restructuring, net metering, privatization, carbon emissions and consumption of specific fuels, on a worldwide basis.

ABI is a N.Y.-based technology market research firm founded in 1990. ABI publishes market research and technology intelligence on the wireless, automotive, electronics, networking and energy industries. Details can be found on the web at abiresearch.com or by calling 516-624-3113.

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