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The global solid oxide fuel cell market size was USD 0.90 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with SOFC systems witnessing a positive demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a significant growth of about 39.5% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is projected to grow from USD 1.09 billion in 2021 to USD 5.31 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 25.3% during the 2021-2028 period. The rise in Compound annual growth rate is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
A solid oxide fuel cell is a kind of electrochemical system utilized across different verticals to generate electricity by the oxidation of fuel. These devices are integrated with ceramic or solid metal oxides as electrolytes to conduct the ions between the cathode and anode of the cell. Additionally, the systems are designed to withstand high operating temperatures and can produce optimum output with different fuels, such as hydrogen, natural gas, and propane, among other clean fuels, as well as mixtures. Furthermore, the units are majorly operated on hydrogen fuel to ensure zero-emission operations with heat and water vapors as the only byproducts.
Inhibitions in Investment of New Projects amid COVID-19 Pandemic has Impacted the Product Demand
The sudden outbreak of the severe virus termed COVID-19 or novel coronavirus has created a global health emergency. Different national, regional, and global organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and many others, have continuously rolled out policies to curtail the COVID-19 spread. Furthermore, governments have also implemented guidelines, such as social distancing, national lockdowns, remote working alternatives, and constrained global interaction to limit the spread.
Consequently, the market for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells has also been moderately impacted by the pandemic. Various nations have observed a significant decrease in industrial activities leading to declining energy needs, thereby lowering the demand for reliable power sources. Furthermore, the constraint cross-border trade movements have also incurred substantial disruptions across the supply chain of the products.
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Continuous Research & Development Activities is a Vital Trend
The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) market has observed various public and private collaboration initiatives to launch new products with advanced characteristics. Additionally, different leading research groups across educational institutions have also introduced new ventures to conduct R&D projects focused on the technology, exclusively. For instance, in August 2020, a team of researchers from the Seoul National University and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in South Korea unveiled an innovative micro-patterning and thin-film 3-D process technology for the production of SOFC units with enhanced efficiency.
Encouraging Government Policies for Hydrogen Infrastructure to Complement the Industry Outlook
Different national and regional authorities have implemented favorable policy frameworks to support the transition towards hydrogen-based technologies, which is likely to add to the solid oxide fuel cell market growth. Besides, governments have also presented their medium and long-term goals to decarbonize the economy and boost the deployment of innovative zero-emission technologies, such as fuel cells. For instance, in September 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced to provide around USD 34 million under the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) program to design and fabricate small-scale SOFC systems.
Rising Installation of Green Energy Technologies to Favor Market Growth
Growing concerns to diminish the harmful carbon efforts and the increasing placement of low carbon technologies are among the main driving factors for the SOFC market. Several countries have presented their objectives to cater to the increasing energy demand with clean power generation sources encouraging the fuel cell deployment potential. For instance, in April 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its Global Energy Review 2021 and stated that in 2020, the utilization of clean energy increased by about 3%, whereas the electricity generation from renewable sources amplified by around 7%. It further reported that the demand for other key fuels declined during the same period.
Huge Objectives by Governments to Minimize Dependency on Fossil Fuels to Support Expansion
The devices are readily utilized as a reliable source of power for different verticals, such as stationary, transport, and portable. The units deliver a clean, dependable, and energy-efficient output to serve the rapidly increasing demand. Considerable upsurge inattentiveness to the adoption of green power generation methods, along with the huge hydrogen and other renewable targets to keep a check on the rising GHG levels, is projected to propel the product demand. For example, in January 2019, the Government of South Korea introduced a new policy called Hydrogen Economy Roadmap dedicated to outlining the goals for H2 technologies. The strategy states that the country anticipates manufacturing 6.2 million FCEVs and set up 1,200 hydrogen refueling stations by 2040. Additionally, the plan further targets to deliver about 15 GW of FC systems for stationary power generation by the target year.
Operational Constraints along with Availability of Other Fuel Cell Systems to Hamper Growth
Different operational characteristics, such as long start-up times, coupled with the need for substantial initial manufacturing costs owing to the utilization of heat-resistant material for construction, are some of the factors that may hinder the market pace. Besides, the prominent availability of other efficient fuel cell technologies, such as proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) and phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC), may hamper the industry landscape.
Exponential Increase in Energy Consumption to Drive the Stationary Segment
Based on the application, the market can be broadly trifurcated into stationary, transport, and portable. The stationary segment is expected to grow substantially in terms of volume as well as revenue due to the rapid increase in the energy demand across different verticals, along with the need for low carbon alternatives for efficient power generation and cogeneration plants. Furthermore, the transport application sector is also projected to observe a considerable growth rate owing to the rapidly rising need for medium and heavy-duty automotive, along with robust R&D activities.
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Commercial End-user Segment to Hold the Dominating Position in the Market
Based on end-users, this industry can be primarily categorized into commercial, data centers, military & defense, and others. The commercial segment is set to hold a leading market share due to the growing demand for clean energy generation on the site to cater to the abruptly rising electricity needs from different establishments.
Besides, the construction of new & advanced data centers to augment the network infrastructure across emerging as well as developed nations are set to favor the data centers segment over the forecast period. Additionally, the military & defense end-user sector is propelled by the growing usage of unmanned aerial vehicle and undersea vehicles with optimized power characteristics and extended working durations.
Asia Pacific Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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The market has been geographically analyzed across four key territories consisting of North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world. The Asia Pacific solid oxide fuel cell market stood at USD 0.37 billion in 2020 and is likely to be one of the fastest-growing regions. The growth is backed by the huge government targets for FC technology, rapid urbanization & industrialization, mounting energy demand, and transformation in prevailing infrastructure, among other factors.
Additionally, the European SOFC market is backed by the increasing demand for renewable energy generation and the higher focus to curb carbon footprint and deploy hydrogen-based Combined Heat & Power (CHP) systems. For instance, in 2019, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a private-public collaborative R&D program in Europe, reported that hydrogen fuel is likely to account for about 24% of the overall regional energy consumption by 2050.
Furthermore, favorable regulatory policies, such as tax benefits and financial incentives across the U.S. and Canada, are set to propel the market size in North America. Governments have also introduced targets on the deployment of fuel cell technology, along with a dedicated research & development initiative for FC systems favoring the regional industry landscape.
Consequently, different public and private entities across the rest of the world countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Africa, and many more have been investing significantly to boost the hydrogen infrastructure. Besides, numerous players have also joined forces to augment the H2 production and utilization capabilities across several verticals. For instance, in July 2020, the U.S.-based Air Products declared to ink a contract worth USD 5 billion in collaboration with NEOM and ACWA Power to establish a world-class facility in Saudi Arabia. The new unit is set to commence operations by 2025 and will include generation of 650 tons per day of hydrogen by electrolysis, 4 GW green power by wind, solar, and storage, nitrogen production, and the generation of 1.2 million tons per year of green ammonia.
Strategic Expansion Plans by Bloom Energy to Fortify its Position across the Market
The global SOFC market has observed a wide range of small, medium, and large scale manufacturers delivering different products across the value chain. The competition matrix across the industry is shaped by participants operating at the regional and global levels striving towards introducing new initiatives and products.
Bloom Energy, a U.S.-based fuel cell manufacturing company, has exhibited its long-standing presence in technology development as a competitive edge over its other counterparts. It has further unveiled its plans to start new ventures to collaborate on various scale projects across the globe. For example, in May 2021, the company announced to join forces with the hydrocarbon technology giant, Baker Hughes, to support the transition towards low carbon hydrogen solutions along with the installation and commercialization of advanced systems.
An Infographic Representation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Market
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The market research report provides detailed information regarding various insights into the market. Some of them are growth drivers, restraints, and competitive landscape encompassing key players, regional analysis, and challenges. It further offers an analytical depiction of the solid oxide fuel cell market trends and estimations to illustrate the forthcoming investment pockets. The market is quantitatively analyzed from 2021 to 2028 to provide the financial competency of the market. The information gathered in the report has been taken from several primary and secondary sources.
Volume (MW) and Value (USD Billion)
Application; End-User; and Region
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 0.90 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 5.31 billion by 2028.
In 2020, Asia Pacific stood at USD 0.37 billion.
Registering a CAGR of 25.3%, the market is projected to exhibit stellar growth during the forecast period (2021-2028).
The commercial end-user segment is anticipated to dominate this market during the forecast period.
The continuous drift towards clean energy technology deployment, rising concerns to mitigate carbon footprint, and favorable government policies are the major factors driving the market growth.
Bloom Energy, Ceres Power, Elcogen, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Nexceris, LLC, and AISIN SEIKI are the key players operating in the industry.
Asia Pacific dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.
Administrations have introduced different regulations to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, hence generating demand for low carbon technologies, such as fuel cells. Additionally, enormous targets will incur investments in new infrastructure transitioning and expand fuel cell manufacturing capabilities positively, thereby propelling the deployment of the products.
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