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Read 4th Energy Wave’s 2015 Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Annual Review

This second edition of the 4th Energy Wave Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Annual Review takes an analytical look at the development of both industries during 2014.

This was a year of many highlights and lowlights with the focused lenses of international interest returning en masse to both industries.

For the fuel cell industry the many, many, many press releases from the automotive sector clouded the growth picture as, once again, many pundits assumed growth from this sector would be steep and achievable in the short term. This was to no little extent supported by many “analysis” pieces (in the loosest sense of the word), which show deployment in the millions by 2025. Many of these documents are clearly politically motivated, as they attempt to gain some sort of special technology status for fuel cells. If understood as such these pieces are harmless, but if taken out of context can be once again seen to be over blowing the short term potential of the industry – a very risky game.

Hydrogen gained the spotlight as interest in the energy storage market lurched forward again. Using electrolytically produced hydrogen to store excess energy is a current darling concept for many technology developers. This is understandable in many respects as, once the hydrogen is produced, there is no shortage of markets for it if it can be economically collected and transported to the point of need. This is a question which some of the developers are keen to pass off as “not my problem”. The thorny issue of hydrogen distribution, from highly dispersed sources of production, is clearly at the top of the tree in terms of pressing challenges, and costs are not easy to reduce.

Overall though, both the fuel cell and hydrogen industries are set for increasing gains due to renewed interest in a basket of drivers: control of emissions (both carbon and regulated); energy efficiency; and water use.

New for the 2015 Review are the topics of platinum and jobs. To many, platinum remains the thorn in the side of fuel cell and electrolyser economics. On the one hand, if only (it is claimed) platinum could be removed, then all the cost problems with fuel cells would evaporate like morning mist. On the other hand, platinum miners are actively looking at the fuel cell sector to soak up an increasing share of platinum production. This creates an interesting dynamic, with the two sides seeming to be in active opposition. Naturally the reality is more complex, with each side needing the other.

As last year, there are two versions of this report. This free version covers developments in 2014 and a short range forecast to the end of 2015. The full version of the report covers the period out to 2025 with forecasts of fuel cell units shipped, MWs shipped, revenue, overall annual platinum demand, and kilos of hydrogen produced. The latter report can be ordered from Kerry-Ann@4thenergywave.com, at a price of £1,000 / USD$1,600 / €1,500. The full edition includes an Excel spreadsheet of (the majority of) the data from the report, a chart book of all charts, and an hour’s time with chief analyst Kerry-Ann.

Finally, as always, since the data has been gathered from primary interviewing of producers and manufacturers, the 4th Energy Wave Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Annual Review contains the only nonestimated global dataset in the world. The information has been provided to 4th on a highly confidential basis and is not broken out by company for that reason.

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