The hydrogen market is charting a steady growth graph thanks largely to an expansion in secondary end-user industries as well as hydrogen being used in hydro-processing in refineries. Very recently, a report by Persistence Market Research, a U.S.-based market intelligence company, estimated that the global hydrogen market will be worth US$141.4 billion by 2020, reaching a volume of 324.8 billion cubic meters in the same year.
But one of the most high-impact factors on the global hydrogen market is the growing demand for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which is an inextricable part of the global clean transportation revolution. Clean transportation and alternative fuels have, in fact, destabilized the conventional petroleum refining industry to a noticeable degree. The demand for hydrogen fuel stations has seen an upsurge as well. Thus, the contemporary hydrogen market is all about innovation and next-generation technologies.
However, some of the more traditional uses of hydrogen continue to much sought-after. Some examples of these applications are refinery hydro-cracking and petroleum hydro-treating. As motor vehicle laws embrace more stringent standards for emission control, hydrogen plays a more important role than ever before in petroleum refining.
The Artificial Leaf Technology – A Key Disruptor in the Global Hydrogen Market
The artificial leaf technology is not a new concept, but it is certainly one that has received much acclaim and interest from green tech advocates and funding agencies alike. The artificial leaf technology uses sunlight to produce hydrogen as well as other fuels more efficiently than natural leaves.
Considering that transportation contributes to an estimated 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, the focus currently is on finding ways to phase out fuels that pollute. This has led to the emergence of electric vehicles or ones that are charged by alternatives such as solar energy. But any type of powering energy that needs to be stored in batteries comes with its set of limitations. For instance, a plug-in aircraft is an unfeasible option simple because it would require millions of batteries. That’s where liquid fuels trump the battery option.
Thus, the global hydrogen market is witness a sweeping change of sorts – scientists have found ways to harness sunlight using the artificial leaf technology that splits water to harvest the hydrogen that exists in it. This technique holds immense promise in the clean energy area and could thus drive the global hydrogen market to a great extent. The change is already visible to some degree, with automakers having introduced vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Supportive Legislation will Help Increase Hydrogen Consumption
Governments worldwide are putting on the fast track legislation to promote the production of high-purity, industrial and commercial grade hydrogen. Moreover, there has been a spike in the demand for captive and on-site production of hydrogen. This factor presents a major opportunity in the global hydrogen market.
However, it would be too early to expect record growth in the global hydrogen market anytime soon. PMR’s report predicts that the hydrogen market will see a CAGR of 5.6% by value and 3.5% by volume between 2014 and 2020.