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Hobbled by High Cost, Hydrogen Fuel Cells Will Be a Modest $3 Billion Market in 2030
Capital cost, not hydrogen supply, will limit adoption to a mere 5.9 GW, dashing dreams of a revolutionary energy future, says Lux Research
BOSTON, MA – January 8, 2013 – The dream of a hydrogen economy envisioned for decades by politicians, economists, and environmentalists is no nearer, with hydrogen fuel cells turning a modest $3 billion market of about 5.9 GW in 2030, says Lux Research.
Although the cost of hydrogen impacts fuel cell market adoption, hydrogen fuel accounts for only 35% of the total cost of ownership (TCO) for stationary applications and 21% of the TCO for mobile applications, with fuel cell capital costs and membrane replacement costs making up most of the difference.
“The hydrogen supply chain is not the most critical bottleneck for fuel cell adoption,” said Brian Warshay, Research Associate and the lead author of the report titled, “The Great Compression: the Future of the Hydrogen Economy.” “High capital costs and the low costs of incumbents provide a nearly insurmountable barrier to adoption, except in niche applications,” he added.
In order to determine the economic viability and potential of an expansive hydrogen economy in the energy sectors, Lux Research conducted a detailed analysis of the costs of hydrogen generation, distribution, storage, and consumption in an effort to find the greatest constraints and opportunities. Among their findings:
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