Fuel cells are emerging as an increasingly viable and cost-effective means of providing clean, reliable power for portable power applications ranging from consumer electronics to first responder communications and materials handling. The fuel cell industry has endured a series of false starts in recent years; however, according to a recent report from Pike Research, the global market for portable fuel cells will increase to U.S. $2.3 billion by 2016, up from just $185 million in 2009.
“Dozens of niche applications will drive the growth of the fuel cell market over the next several years,” says managing director Clint Wheelock. “Manufacturers are increasingly finding that fuel cell technologies are an attractive alternative to batteries and small generators for portable power applications.”
Wheelock adds that the commercialization of portable fuel cells is receiving a significant boost from government funding and direct orders for various military and industrial applications.
In its report, “Fuel Cells for Portable Power Applications”, Pike Research forecasts that the leading market segment by 2016 will be fuel cells in the 500 W to 2 kW range, which will serve as a replacement for gasoline and diesel generators and are used in watercraft, combat support systems, and auxiliary power units. The 100-500 W power level will be the second largest segment; this category has applications for first responder battery charging, power tools, and unmanned vehicles.
to Daily News