Consistent research and development efforts are expected to pay off as solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) emerge as the preferred fuel cell technology. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that SOFCs are likely to reach commercialisation in Europe between 2010 and 2012.
LONDON - 19 December, 2007 - Consistent research and development efforts are expected to pay off as solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) emerge as the preferred fuel cell technology for distributed generation. Besides their high electrical efficiency and environment friendly nature, fuel cells allow industries to completely redesign existing products and ascertain a synergy across sectors.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.energy.frost.com), Solid Oxide Fuel Cells in Europe: a Strategic Review, finds that SOFCs are likely to reach commercialisation in Europe between 2010 and 2012. The market is estimated to reach about $61 million in the first year of commercialisation.
"Amidst growing concerns over security of fuel supply and emission reduction, fuel cells are expected to play a pivotal role in the future of the European energy industry, buoyed by their high electrical efficiency and favourable environment friendly profile," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Hema Sarathy.
SOFCs show electrical efficiencies between 40 to 50 per cent, and when used in a cogeneration mode, where the waste heat given out by the system is also utilised, the efficiencies reach to about 80 to 86 per cent. Further, when used in a hybrid cycle with a gas turbine, SOFC systems offer efficiencies of 60 per cent and greater. Thus, higher efficiencies and better benefits will aid cogeneration or CHP based fuel cell systems to lead the stationary fuel cells market during the initial years of commercialisation.
However, high capital and operating costs are a major deterrent to commercialisation of fuel cells as customers are awaiting cost reduction for an enhanced value proposition. Moreover, the lack of robustness in the systems reduces its performance compared to the traditional technologies. Hence, the commercial launch of SOFC systems is impossible without more of a competitive product and price offering.
"The stationary fuel cell industry is currently in a demonstration and product validation stage where the focus is not only on product development, but also on understanding the requirements of customers and using their feedback to enhance SOFC product solutions," says Sarathy. "Competing fuel cell technologies, such as molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFCs) and proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFCs) are being simultaneously developed. MCFC has higher electrical efficiency than SOFC and PEMFC is the most widely researched technology across the world."
The SOFC industry values the feedback from demonstrators and system manufacturers and is looking forward to strategic alliances and partnerships with utilities as well as component suppliers to develop SOFC products that match customer necessities. The focus henceforth will be on sustained and dedicated research of new materials, improved manufacturing processes and augmented process capabilities, which will enable a smooth transition from the current demonstration/development phase to the commercialisation stage.
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Solid Oxide Fuel Cells in Europe: A Strategic Review is part of the Energy & Power Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: European Stationary Fuel Cells Market, World Micro Fuel Cell Markets for Consumer Portable Devices, Fuel Cells for Stationary Power - Global Trends and Technology Developments, World Micro Fuel Cell Markets for Consumer Portable Devices and World Advances in Micro Fuel Cell Technology. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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Solid Oxide Fuel Cells in Europe: A Strategic Review
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