A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through an electrochemical reaction of fuel with an oxidizing agent. Every fuel cell has two electrodes calledthe anode and cathode. The reactions that produce electricity take place at the electrodes.Every fuel cell also has an electrolyte, which carries electrically charged particles from one electrode to the other, and a catalyst, which speeds up the reactions at the electrodes.
Hydrogen is the basic fuel andoxygen is typically used as the oxidizing agent, in fuel cells used for running vehicles i.e. in automotive fuel cells. They are different from batteries as they require continuous source of fuel and oxygen to sustain the chemical reaction, while batteries get chemical energy from the energy stored in them. Fuel cell run vehicles are efficient and emission-free, much like their battery-operated counterparts.
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Automobile manufacturers are the target customers for the automotive fuel cell industry. Traders, distributors and suppliers of automobile parts to the manufacturers also play an important role in the industry.
Market Dynamics and Opportunities
The global market for automotive fuel cell is estimatedto grow at a promising rate of about13% due to the increasing production of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs)as a result of pollution awareness and pollution control measures taking place across the globe. There is an increasing inclination towards fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)running on hydrogen and this alsocontributes to the rising demand in the fuel cell market.
The market is segmented in terms of the type of fuel cell and the type of application.The most common type of fuel cell for vehicle applications is the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell. According to the type of application, the fuel cell market is classified into light-duty vehicles and materials handling.Materials handling vehicles sector is likely to be the most appealing segment, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% over the next few years.
The global automotive fuel cell market is dominated by Asia Pacific and it is anticipated to continue itsdominance. The Asia-Pacific fuel cell market is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 12% and will capture 60% of the overall fuel cell market. Europe stands at number twoand is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5%. Due to the constant support and funding for commercialization of fuel cell technology by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the fuel cell market is growing considerably in US too.
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Some of the major players operating in the global automotive fuel cellmarket include: ACAL, Hydrogenics, Plug Power, Nuvera Fuel Cells, Ballard Power Systems, Watt Fuel Cell, Heliocentrics, Elcore, H2 Logic, Danthem Power, Toshiba, Bing Energy and Bosch Thermo-technology.
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