BOULDER, CO – According to a new report from Pike Research, the key hydrogen fuel-cell applications that are currently seeing traction are light-duty vehicles, forklifts, buses, stationary power and scooters. Because of infrastructure investment, Pike projects, 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.

Pike Research 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 use 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,” said 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 added that some smaller “independent” hydrogen suppliers now developing and marketing smaller onsite hydrogen generator technologies could offer a more modular path to hydrogen infrastructure build-out. 

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

“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. A summary of the report is available for free download by clicking here.