21 January 2002 22:32 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Consultants at the Freedonia Group predicted Monday that US demand for fuel cells will expand fourfold by 2006 to create a marketplace worth $3.3bn (Euro3.8bn), including research and development spending with electric power generation as the first large scale application.
They also foresee the market expanding another 167% through 2011 as additional applications emerge, according to the Cleveland, Ohio-company's recent report entitled "Fuel Cells."
Across the board, Freedonia predicts a dramatic increase in annual percentage growth for the US fuel cell market to 30.1% through 2006 from the 15.7% posted annually between 1996 and last year. In terms of market size, Freedonia expects the value will have increased 671% from the $425m of 1996 to the $3.3bn expected in 2006.
In its report, Freedonia said it expects electric power generation to command 41% of the total market demand by 2006, followed by automotive with a 20% share, portable electronics with 12% and military and aerospace with 9%.
While the industry has been mired in its pre-commercialisation phase until now, Freedonia expects viable markets will develop during this decade, "most likely in specific niches as opposed to large-scale supplantation of existing energy technologies."
As factors for growth, Freedonia lists the drive to reduce dependence on imported oil, environmental concerns and technological advances.
Regarding the automotive outlook, Freedonia said it remains "plagued with technical problems and high cost barriers." But the consultants also cited the high level of research and development and prototyping as evidence of enthusiasm by automakers to find ways to make fuel cells work in the long term.
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