A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts a source fuel into an electrical
current and water. It generates electricity inside a cell through reactions between a
fuel and an oxidant, triggered in the presence of an electrolyte. The reactants flow
into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains
within it. PEM, SOFC, AFC, DMFC are types of Fuel cells.
How Fuel Cell Works
Fuel Cell Advantages
Fuel cells eliminate pollution caused by burning fossil fuels; the only byproduct
If the hydrogen used comes from the electrolysis of water, then using fuel cells
eliminates greenhouse gases.
Fuel cells do not need conventional fuels such as oil or gas and can therefore
eliminate economic dependence on politically unstable countries.
Since hydrogen can be produced anywhere where there is water and electricity,
production of potential fuel can be distributed.
Installation of smaller stationary fuel cells leads to a more stabilised and
decentralised power grid.
Fuel Cell Disadvantages
Fuelling fuel cells is still a problem since the production, transportation, distribution and
storage of hydrogen is difficult.
Reforming hydrocarbons via reformer to produce hydrogen is technically challenging and
not clearly environmentally friendly.
The refuelling and the starting time of fuel cell vehicles are longer and the driving range
is shorter than in a “normal” car.
Fuel cells are in general slightly bigger than comparable batteries or engines.
However, the size of the units is decreasing.
Fuel cells are currently expensive to produce, since most units are hand-made.
Some fuel cells use expensive materials.
The technology is not yet fully developed and few products are available.
Bloom Box - Revolutionary Fuel Cell
Developer: Bloom Energy
The potential uses a series of discs, made from zirconium oxide and coated in
special inks, to induce a chemical reaction that turns natural gas, among
other fuels, into electricity.
Bloom Box Technology
With low cost ceramic materials, and extremely
high electrical efficiencies, SOFCs can deliver
attractive economics without relying on CHP.
Bloom has solved these engineering challenges.
With breakthroughs in materials science, and
revolutionary new design, Bloom's SOFC
technology is a cost effective, all-electric
Over a century in the making, fuel cells are
The patents for fuel cells far exceed
those than other sources of green
finally clean, reliable, and most importantly,
Fuel Cell Industry Outlook for 2008
Fuel cell markets have grown continuously in
the 2000’s. 2008 was the record year, as the
deliveries amounted to 18,000 units, 50 % up
from the 2007 figure (12,000).
Total sales of the fuel cell units amounted to c.
500 million $US (350 million €) in 2008.
The growth took place in all the main market
sectors (stationary / transport / portable), but
was mainly made by a few demand-driven
Fuel Cell Industry Outlook for 2009-12
Demand for clean, low emission energy production technologies is favoring fuel
cell development, which fact has not been implemented almost at all
Fuel cell development should therefore seek more intensive co-operation with
wind, solar, geothermal and other new energy developments
The 2008 market forecasts for 2009-12 (FCT and others) look by far to
optimistic today. The market is likely to grow slowly (20-30 % a year) in 2009 -
10, but possibly speed up significantly thereafter .
Global Value for Fuel Cell
Fuel Cell Investments
Global fuel cell industry is attracting a large pool of investments primarily due to the huge
demand potential the industry possesses.
Fuel Cell Industry Trends
The global fuel cell industry is expected to generate more than $18.6 billion in
Fuel cell sales will come from three main market applications: automotive,
stationary, and portables. Projected sales could generate nearly $35 billion if
market conditions improved for automotive fuel cells."
A new battleground is the residential or small stationary market.
Mass-market adoption in the Asia Pacific is forecast to take off by 2015 for
stationary fuel cells, and by 2020 for portable fuel cells.
Emerging fuel cell applications in the areas of transportation, industry, the home,
and consumer products speak to the enormous potential for this technology.
Major Markets for Fuel Cell Development
Canada is recognized as a fuel cell industry leader, along with the US,
Germany and Japan.
United States : The U.S. government proposes spending $2.7 billion over
the next five years for hydrogen and fuel cell research and development
and advanced automotive technologies.
European Community : Estimated $2.5 billion will be dedicated to fuel
cells and hydrogen initiatives. Target of five percent of European
Community road transport to be hydrogen-powered by 2020
Germany : Current annual funding for fuel cell and hydrogen initiatives
totals approximately $58 million.
Singapore : The government has established the Singapore Initiative in
Energy Technology Program (SINERGY), which aims to make Singapore
a leading player in the development of alternative energy technology.
Fuel cell is a Major Green Tech Investment