Credit: iRAP Inc.

Credit: IRAP

According to a newly released report from Innovative Research and Products Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Energy and Related Nanotechnology – A Global Industry and Market Analysis, the fuel cell and hydrogen energy industry is highly fragmented.

According to IRAP, nearly 4,000 organizations worldwide are involved in fuel cells, hydrogen energy and related nanotechnology and spent an estimated $8.4 billion in 2008. IRAP estimates this market will be $8.8 billion in 2009 and expects it to increase to $14 billion by 2014, with a compound average growth rate of 9.6%.

IRAP also says that nearly 2200 organizations are involved in nanotechnology related to fuel cells and hydrogen energy. The firm says this is a $4.7 billion market, with about $2 billion of that representing the value of nanotechnology for fuel cells and hydrogen energy separate from all other expenditures.

The organizations are made up of well established corporations, start-up companies, universities, governments at the federal, state and municipal level, cooperative public–private demonstrations, and nonprofit organizations and laboratories. Those organizations involved in nanotechnology are developing electrodes, catalysts, membranes as well as nanocoating, thermal and filtration products for fuel cells and materials for hydrogen production, purification and storage.

IRAP reports that over half the organizations involved in fuel cells, hydrogen energy and related nanotechnology have overlapping interests and are developing more than one kind of fuel cell or technology for more than one type of fuel cell. They may also offer balance of plant products that can be applied to more than one type of fuel cell such as fuel reformers, pumps and compressors and power electronics. Manufacturing equipment is also similar for some fuel cell types.

Looking back from some point in the future, IRAP says that we will see that true mass manufacturing of stationary fuel cells began in 2009, when fuel cell products proved to have the durability to compete against other sources of power.

Limited mass production of fuel cell vehicles is not expected to begin before 2015, although many manufacturers will produce about 100 fuel cell vehicles a year for fleet demonstrations. IRAP reports that hydrogen fueling stations for these vehicles continues at a rate of about two to four a month worldwide. More than $500 billion worth of hydrogen fueling stations will eventually be needed to compete with the world-wide gasoline infrastructure.

Global Value for Fuel Cell, Hydrogen Energy and
Related Nanotechnology, through 2014 ($ Millions)
ORGANIZATIONS 2008 2009 2014 2009-2014
CAGR (%)
Total Fuel Cell, H2 and nano 8,380 8,800 14,000 9.6%
Nanotechnology only 2,010 2,190 3,090 7.1%