Growing Demand from Refinery Hydro-Processing Industry Powering the Hydrogen Market

The global market for hydrogen is worth billions. According to a market research firm, Persistence Market Research (PMR), the global hydrogen market will expand at a CAGR of 3.5% for volume and 5.6% for value during the forecast period of 2014-2020. The market totaled 255.3 billion cubic meters in terms of volume and US$96.6 billion in terms of value. The global hydrogen market is expected to reach a total volume capacity of 324.8 billion cubic meters and value of US$141.4 billion by end of 2020.

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In 2013, Asia Pacific was the largest market for hydrogen globally with a market share of 31.7% and 30.3% in terms of volume and value respectively. Asia Pacific was followed by North America with a market share of 29.7% (value) and 29.4% (volume). Asia Pacific will grow at the highest CAGR, 7.0%, in the global hydrogen market. This rapid growth is attributed to increasing demand from emerging countries such as China and India. Overall, the global hydrogen market will demonstrate a steady growth during the forecast period due to various factors. Here’s a look at the driving factors that will contribute to the growth of this market.

Global Hydrogen Market to Soar due to Threefold Demand

  • Massive Demand from Refinery Hydro-processing Industry: Hydrogen is used in petroleum hydro-cracking and hydro-treating in the refinery industry. The demand for hydrogen in petroleum refining has demonstrated a very high growth during the past few years as a result of stringent motor vehicle emission regulations from governments all over the world. Developed economies follow the latest emission regulations. On the other hand, developing countries tend to frequently revise their motor vehicle emissions regulations.

  • Growing Demand for Clean Transportation: Even though the demand for hydrogen is the highest from the petroleum refinery industry, increasing environmental legislations around the world are propelling the demand for hydrogen as an automotive fuel. Hydrogen fuel cells are used to produce electricity from oxygen and hydrogen, as hydrogen has a high energy density. Since these electrochemical cells emit only water vapor, which is considered more eco-friendly. As hydrogen fuel promotes clean transportation, hydrogen is growing in demand as an automotive fuel.

  • Increasing Demand for On-site and Captive Hydrogen Production: The global hydrogen generation market is classified on the basis of the mode of delivery and its generation. The two major segments for hydrogen production and delivery are merchant and captive production. These cater to the consumer by either constructing an on-site production plant or delivering centrally produced hydrogen via pipelines or in packs similar in function to that of LPG cylinders. The demand for on-site and captive hydrogen production has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. In 2013, the captive production and delivery system sector in the global hydrogen market held the largest market share at 220.8 billion cubic meters in terms of volume and total market revenue of US$84.1 billion.

Though the global hydrogen market will continue to expand due to these three factors, one key concern for the industry is the high cost associated with it. Since hydrogen generation technologies are relatively new, the economies of scale haven’t yet been achieved.


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