The ongoing increase in demand for stationary fuel cells will continue to increase, largely due to applications in CHP for both residential and commercial buildings, according to analysis by Pike Research.

According to Pike, early centres of stationary fuel cell adoption include Japan, Germany, and Denmark, particularly for residential CHP applications, while it believes that the South Korean, US and UK markets look set for a period of rapid growth.

Furthermore, the development in the sector can be rapid. In Japan, the Ene-Farm programme, which aims to promote widespread adoption of residential CHP modules, resulted in the shipment of 6000 units by 2009.

But the report also sounds a note of caution. While such growth in the midst of a global recession is impressive, the report says that the industry faces market and technology barriers.

According to Pike, raising the profile of stationary fuel cells is a key priority for the industry, as are standardizing the technology and reducing the capital expense of manufacturing and purchasing the units.

While there are some 60-plus companies with active development programmes, only a handful of these are actively shipping commercial units, with just five companies representing more than three-quarters of all unit shipments in the global market.

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