Stationary Fuel Cell System: Overview

An electrochemical cell that produces electricity through electrochemical reaction of hydrogen fuel with oxygen is known as fuel cell. Stationary fuel cells are fuel cells which are linked to an electric grid to deliver emergency and supplemental power or setup as independent grid generator for daily use. Fuel cells require a constant source of oxygen (air) and fuel to support the chemical reaction; however, energy is sourced from the chemical that is already present in the battery. The electricity in a fuel cell can be produced constantly as long as oxygen and fuel are supplied to the cell. 

Efficiency of fuel cells is two to three times more than traditional combustion systems. A conventional combustion system generates electricity at efficiencies of around 35%, while the fuel cell system generates electricity at efficiency of nearly 65% and can be more energy efficient with cogeneration. The fuel cell can be powered with flexible fuels such as biogas, natural gas, and renewable source such as wind and solar. A fuel cell system requires less maintenance as compared to traditional combustion engines, as it consists of fewer moving parts. The use of fuel cell is projected to reduce emission. Use of hydrogen as a source of energy can reduce dependency on more polluting fuels such as coal and oil. Fuel cells generate less noise as compared to the traditional systems.

Stationary fuel cell system require working fuel such as hydrogen or organic gas, which include methane or natural gas. The gas is led into the first chamber with an anode electrode. The anode is attached to a cathode present in the second chamber and a closed electric circuit is formed. Air is introduced in the second chamber for an electrochemical reaction. The oxidation process take place as the fuel decomposes into a positively charged ion of fuel and negatively charged electron in the first chamber, which consists of an anode. The positively charged ions travel to the cathode chamber through the electrolyte. The ions mix with electrons and react with the oxygen to create water (if hydrogen is used as fuel) or carbon dioxide (if organic gas is used as fuel) at the cathode. The migration of electrons through the electric circuit generates electricity.

Stationary Fuel Cell System: Key Segments

The global stationary fuel cell system can be segmented into type, end-use, and region. Based on type, market can be divided into polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs), molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFCs), solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), and others. The PEMFC is also known as proton exchange membrane fuel cell. They have low weight and volume as compared to other fuel cells. The electrolyte used in PEMFC is a made from solid polymer and porous carbon electrodes consisting of platinum or a platinum alloy catalyst. The PAFC uses liquid phosphoric acid as an electrolyte. It consists of porous carbon electrode comprising a platinum catalyst and Teflon-based silicon carbide matrix containing acid. The PAFC was the first fuel cell that was introduced commercially and is widely used for stationary power generation. The MCFC consists of molten carbonate salt as electrolyte, which is porous and chemically inert. MCFCs are used in industrial, electrical utility, and military applications. SOFC consists of hard, non-porous ceramic compound as electrolyte. The MCFC are primarily used in utility applications.

In terms of end-use, the stationary fuel cell system market can be categorized into industries, power generation, and home application. Based on region, the global stationary fuel cell market can be segregated into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is projected to lead the global market during the forecast period. The market in Asia Pacific is expand at a substantial pace. Latin America and Middle East & Africa are expected to account for moderate share of the global stationary fuel cell system market.

Stationary Fuel Cell System: Key Players

Key players operating in the global stationary fuel cell system market is include Panasonic Corporation, Toshiba Fuel Cell Power System Corporation., Siemens AG, Fuji Electric Co.,Ltd., POSCO ENERGY, FuelCell Energy, Inc.,  Bloom Energy, and Ballard Power Systems.

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