According to a report from Pike Research, more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations will be operational worldwide by 2020, up from just 200 stations in 2010. The research firm forecasts that, by the end of 2020, annual investments in hydrogen stations will soar to $1.6 billion, with ten-year (2010 to 2020) investments hitting $8.4 billion globally.

Pike says global demand for hydrogen fuel will hit 418 million kilograms (922 million pounds) annually by 2020, but notes that from 2010 through 2014, demand for hydrogen will be relatively low (less than 50 million kg). However, come 2015, demand for clean-burning fuel will skyrocket due to exponential growth in the fuel cell-powered commercial light-duty vehicle segment.

Why the need for so much hydrogen? Well, according to Pike Research, forklifts and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) will consume a combined 63 percent of 418 million kg of hydrogen fuel in 2020. Forklifts? Who'd da thunk that?

[Source: Pike Research]
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More than 5,200 Hydrogen Fueling Stations to be Operational by 2020

July 19, 2011

Hydrogen is widely used for its chemical properties in a range of industrial applications. Fuel cells that use direct hydrogen are opening up a new business opportunity for hydrogen suppliers – one with potentially high demand if some key markets take off. The key direct hydrogen fuel cell applications that are currently seeing traction are light duty vehicles, forklifts, buses, stationary power, and scooters. These fuel cell market present different infrastructure buildout pathways, with varying opportunities and challenges.

According to a new report from Pike Research, as a result of this infrastructure investment, more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations for cars, buses and forklifts will be operational worldwide by 2020, up from just 200 stations in 2010. The cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that, by the end of that period, annual investment in hydrogen stations will reach $1.6 billion, with a cumulative 10-year investment totaling $8.4 billion. The increased utilization of hydrogen as a fuel will drive annual demand from approximately 775,000 kilograms (kg) in 2010 to 418 million kg by 2020.

"There is no one clear business model for the hydrogen infrastructure market at present," says senior analyst Lisa Jerram. "Currently, the major players in hydrogen fueling are large multinationals: the industrial gas companies, and the energy and gas companies, both those that operate retail gas stations and those that provide fuels for the grid. These companies tend to favor large-scale hydrogen infrastructure options."

Jerram adds that some smaller "independent" hydrogen suppliers that are developing and marketing smaller onsite hydrogen generator technologies could offer a more modular path to hydrogen infrastructure buildout. Yet another pathway is presented by vehicles using very small quantities of hydrogen, such as scooters. These vehicles can be fueled by small solid state hydrogen cartridges, which are readily distributed in retail outlets.

Pike Research's analysis indicates that forklifts will be the largest driver of hydrogen fuel demand by 2020, representing 36% of the total market by that time. The other large application categories include light duty vehicles, which will consume 33% of total hydrogen, and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) for stationary power, which will represent 27% of the total. Fuel cell buses and scooters will each be a relatively small percentage of total hydrogen demand.

Pike Research's report, "Hydrogen Infrastructure", analyzes the dynamics of global demand for hydrogen fuel and the infrastructure investments that will support fueling stations for fuel cell light duty vehicles, buses, forklifts, scooters, and stationary power applications. The study includes an examination of market issues, technology issues, and the competitive landscape within the hydrogen infrastructure industry. Market forecasts for hydrogen demand and fueling infrastructure, segmented by application and geography, are provided through 2020. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm's website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company's research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors.

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