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The global solid oxide fuel cell market size stood at USD 0.53 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 2.00 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 18.3% during the forecast period.
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) are devices installed with a ceramic membrane aiding them to conduct ions and flow currents at higher temperatures. They are electrochemical units that utilize non-porous & solid metal oxide electrolytes to convert chemical energy into thermal energy and electricity using hydrogen fuel. These units are readily used across various applications owing to their ability to operate at elevated temperatures, stability, high efficiency, and acceptability of various types of fuels. Consequently, rapidly rising energy demand coupled with rising measures to adopt green power generation sources is set to foster the solid oxide fuel cell market growth. Increasing interest in the development and deployment of energy-efficient systems to meet additional power requirements will further complement the industry size.
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Substantial increase in awareness to implement green power generation methods with an aim to keep a check on rising GHG levels will complement the SOFC demand across the world. North America is poised to account for a major portion of this demand due to extensive availability of long-standing technical knowhow of this technology along with rising investments in R&D and production of advanced products. In June 2017, the U.S. Climate Alliance came into force with about 24 states under its coalition, with a target to decrease the emissions from about 26-28% as compared to 2005 levels by the year 2025. In June 2018, the union further announced new initiatives to accelerate the original plan by introducing different policies comprising renewable energy adoption, reducing super pollutants, grid modernization, deploying clean transportation, and various others.
“Rising Energy Demand Worldwide to Positively Influence the Market Growth”
Exponentially rising energy demand, along with rapidly developing hydrogen infrastructure in different regions, is anticipated to bolster the industry outlook. SOFCs are generally integrated into systems to produce distributed and continuous power for a wide range of commercial and industrial end-user processes. It can be stacked in a combination to form a high power fuel cell stack as it produces minimum SOx, NOx, and other harmful emissions rather water are released.
“Favorable Government Investments to Boost SOFC Adoption”
Numerous governments are continuously investing in different programs to develop advanced systems along with reduced overall manufacturing costs, which in turn will further shape the solid oxide fuel cell market trends. Stringent norms to diminish the global carbon footprint have led various organizations to cultivate new technologies with low hydrocarbon dependence along with high operating efficiency. For instance, in September 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) reported that total funding allotted to the fuel cell R&D subprogram totaled USD 30 million in fiscal year (FY) 2019 to improve durability & performance of the systems at lower costs.
“Stationary Segment Is Projected to Hold Major Share Across the Forecast Timeline”
Based on application, the SOFC market can be primarily trifurcated into stationary, transport, and portable. Stationary application is projected to possess the dominating share in terms of volume as well as revenue. Setup of new large scale power generation facilities along with developing distributed energy generation infrastructure are set to positively influence the segment size. These devices are installed in a wide operational range from a few kWs to large scale units of MWs owing to their fuel flexibility and high efficiency. Continuous research programs, along with new collaborations among industry players to effectively enter the niche automotive SOFC sector, is set to favor the transport segment growth. The devices are also installed as auxiliary power units (APUs) in various vehicles to provide supplementary power for all cabin features. Furthermore, the development of innovative and compact devices for moveable chargers with power output limited to a few watts will propel the portable application demand.
“Data Center End-Users Set to Witness Substantial Growth”
Based on end-users, this market can be majorly divided into commercial, data centers, military & defense, and others. The commercial sector is projected to hold a substantial stake across the globe owing to the setup of new fuel cell-powered combined heat & power (CHP) power plants with various power outputs. Energy-efficient and innovative CHP generation solutions deliver eco-friendly ways to fulfill rising energy needs by various buildings, while having no atmospheric emissions and high electrical productivity. Data centers segment is anticipated to perceive strong growth due to increasing research and pilot testing programs across new verticals to introduce high energy savings along with significant emission declines.
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Military & defense is expected to be one of the fastest emerging segments for the product demand across various regions. Rising inclination towards adoption of power-efficient unmanned aerial and undersea vehicles for government operations to provide longer flight durations coupled with less vibration and low heat signature will favor the segment dynamics.
Geographically, the solid oxide fuel cell market has been evaluated across four major regions of Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, and the Rest of the World. North America is likely to hold the lion’s share and observe strong growth during the forecast period. Rapidly growing investments, strict government carbon reduction targets, increasing energy demand, and rapidly developing commercial infrastructures will cater to the regional outlook. Administrations are working together with various institutions and market players to significantly increase the adoption of SOFC systems in numerous applications and diminish the manufacturing costs, thus aiding the region to dominate the solid oxide fuel cell market share.
North America Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Market Size, 2018
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Asia Pacific is anticipated to observe substantial growth owing to the presence of established manufacturers, developing hydrogen infrastructure, and vital R&D efforts to increase the application potential of SOFC devices. Initiation of various events and symposiums to improve material electrode assemblies (MEAs), fabricate new & efficient stack designs, advance fuel flexibility, mitigate cost & degradation, and many more such activities are set to foster growth across the regional landscape.
Stringent emission reduction norms, increasing focus on distributed power generation, rising clean fuel adoption is anticipated to contribute to the Europe SOFC market. Regional governments and organizations have implemented strict policies to curb GHG emissions near, mid, and long-range intervals. The devices exert high potential in the region owing to simple availability of various renewable fuels like biogas and other technologies that will positively influence the product demand.
“Industry Players Like Ballard and Plug Power Will Persevere to Shape the Market Dynamics”
The market has observed different regional and global players contributing to the production of SOFC systems with various designs and for different applications. Key industry participants are increasingly focusing on exploring new horizons with advanced product portfolio extending the product usage at numerous levels. Furthermore, several companies are also initiating joint venture programs to expand the reach of SOFC devices across new verticals along with an aim to curb needless tons of carbon emissions.
Solid oxide fuel cell or SOFC is an electrochemical device that operates at high temperatures, utilizing ceramic electrolytes to support the current generation for various uses. SOFCs works at a temperature range of generally around 600 °C to 900 °C, making them highly suitable for handling different fuels due to the easy movement of oxidizing agents. The technology possesses a vast potential owing to the operational flexibility of the systems over a range of renewable technologies like biogas and solar, along with various hydrocarbon fuels. Additionally, the technology demonstrates numerous other features, including high thermal output, better commercial availability, variable sizes for dedicated uses, noise-free working, good load following characteristics, and many more.
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The report on the solid oxide fuel cell market highlights leading regions across the world, with an aim to offer a better understanding of the market. Furthermore, the report provides insights into the latest industry trends, key regulatory scenarios, and analyzes technologies that are being deployed at a rapid pace at the global level. It further highlights some of the growth-stimulating factors and restraints, helping the reader to gain in-depth knowledge about the market.
Value (USD Billion) and Volume (MW)
Fortune Business Insights says that the solid oxide fuel cell market was valued at USD 0.53 Billion in 2018.
The solid oxide fuel cell market size is projected to reach USD 2.00 billion by 2026.
The solid oxide fuel cell market is projected to grow exponentially at a CAGR of 18.3%.
North America solid oxide fuel cell market was valued at USD 0.38 billion in 2018.
Stationary application is anticipated to be the leading segment in the solid oxide fuel cell market during the forecast period.
Exponentially rising energy demand, along with growing concerns to reduce global carbon discharge, are the key market drivers. However, high initial cost and need for long startup time may obstruct the industry growth.
Bloom Energy, Ceres Power, FuelCell Energy, SOLIDpower Group, and AISIN SEIKI, are among the top players in the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell market.
Growing energy needs across numerous emerging and developed nations will lead to the deployment of advanced power generation technologies. Subsequently, all regions have set bulk GHG reduction targets. Therefore, SOFCs can provide clean energy generation alternatives with no harmful discharges to cater the rising energy demand globally.
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