The US could be set to deploy 11 GW of new combined heat and power (CHP) and fuel cell-based generation capacity by 2026, according to new analysis.

In a report released this week, GTM Research predicts that the cumulative US CHP and fuel cell market will grow from its present 84 GW to 95 GW over the next 10 years.

Significant drivers for this predicted growth are policy incentives and technology development, the report found, with CHP uptake becoming more common in non-industrial customers, and corporations and data centres continuing to be the major adopters of fuel cells. The major growth will come from new customer segments and applications according to Mei Shibata, the report’s lead author.

Addressing the market’s slow growth to date and its predicted rosier prospects, Shibata said: ‘What looks like a stagnant market on the surface is actually smouldering with a significant number of technology and fuel options, capable vendors and a new batch of customers who are ready to adopt fuel-based distributed generation systems.’

And she noted that CHP- and fuel cell-based distributed generation ‘has and will continue to play a significant role in the US electricity system, as the US grid infrastructure ages and the need for cleaner and affordable generation options increases’.

According to the report, 8% of 2015’s total US power generation capacity came from on-site CHP and fuel cells – almost double the contribution of wind farms, and 10 times the percentage gleaned from distributed solar power.  

‘CHP capacity alone represents more than three times the capacity that solar provides to the US, and its 83 GW dwarfs the 2 GW of installed microgrid capacity,’ the report said.

Image source: GTM Research, CHP and Fuel Cells 2016-2026: Growth Opportunities, Markets and Forecast