Passenger potential fuel cells

Passenger cars and heavier vehicles will account for most of the market for fuel cell technology by 2025, UK-based consultancy Escovale calculates. The company estimates the market to be worth £1bn a week, but managing partner Frank Escombe warns the outlook is changing constantly. He says two years ago experts such as Escovale believed fuel […]

Passenger cars and heavier vehicles will account for most of the market for fuel cell technology by 2025, UK-based consultancy Escovale calculates.

The company estimates the market to be worth £1bn a week, but managing partner Frank Escombe warns the outlook is changing constantly.

He says two years ago experts such as Escovale believed fuel cells would be used mainly as vehicle ‘range extenders’, complementing conventional batteries.

Today two camps are adopting different approaches. Toyota is developing hybrid systems based on a 25kW fuel cell and a 25kW battery, while the Daimler-Benz Ballard consortium, which includes Chrysler, Ford and Mazda, is hedging its bets on the development of a 50kW fuel cell. Escombe suggests this could be supplemented by a small battery for energy management purposes.

Plummeting costs per kilowatt are driving the big players to reassess the potential for fuel cells, says Escombe. The two principal sectors, apart from transport, are power generation and portable power, he says. The consultancy has identified 300 lead market players and says there are another 150 or so still to file details.

Fuel Cells: Market Development to 2025 is a management report by Escovale looking at six types of fuel cell technology, their applications and likely market performance.

It will be available next year as a package with three days’ consultancy. Some of the information is available now, such as the 1998 Mictroturbine Report, which considers microturbines as a competitor to fuel cells.