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Materials for PEM Fuel Cells 2023-2033

Granular ten-year market forecasts for the material demand for PEM fuel cells used in the automotive industry based on extensive research of OEMs, material suppliers and manufacturers of key components: BPPs, GDLs, ionomer membranes, CCMs and MEAs.

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Materials demand for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells is set to grow in line with an expanding fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market, as the hydrogen economy continues to gain traction. This report details the key information for components in PEM fuel cells such as bipolar plates (BPP), gas diffusion layers (GDL), catalyst coated membrane (CCM), membrane electrode assemblies (MEA), ionomers, platinum catalysts and more.
A PEM fuel cell operates via the synergistic interaction of the various components. The BPP distributes fuel throughout the fuel cell, before the GDL transports reactants and products to/from the catalyst layer, respectively. The catalyst is coated on the membrane (CCM), while the membrane itself transports protons from one side of the fuel cell to the other. Collectively, the CCM and GDL are known as an MEA. The PEM fuel cell for transportation market is set to grow at a CAGR of 29.9% between 2022 and 2033, but there are key questions to be answered with respect to the components used in fuel cells. What are the trends seen for incumbent and emerging materials? How will manufacturing methods for these components change to meet increased demand? Who are the main players within the expanding fuel cell components market?
Technology trends for PEM fuel cell components
This report gives a breakdown of the key components within a fuel cell, detailing the incumbent materials and technologies used in each instance. Analysis of supply chains and major players within the industry builds an overview of the market as a whole. However, even for the incumbent materials, there is still scope for variations to the technology based on materials selection. Taking the example of BPPs, typical material choice includes plates made from either metal (e.g. titanium, stainless steel) or graphite. This report provides benchmarking of metal and graphite plates, highlighting the particular vehicle types (passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses) for which each material is most well suited.
Despite dominant incumbent materials, such as Nafion for ionomer membranes, disruptive technologies are beginning to emerge, showing signs of early promise. Novel materials, coatings and manufacturing techniques are seen at academic stage, with some early commercial uptake, and analysis of these disruptions to the incumbent are included in this report. A comprehensive analysis of alternative polymer exchange membranes was carried out and these are benchmarked against the incumbent, Nafion, for the most important parameters to ensure optimal performance of the fuel cell.
Economy of scale to reduce cost of components
FCEVs are yet to achieve similar market penetration seen for battery electric vehicles (BEV), and while IDTechEx expects BEVs to dominate the zero-emission vehicles market, the drive towards zero-emission vehicles is expected to see FCEVs capture a growing share of the overall vehicles sector; IDTechEx predicts the combined FCEV market to exceed US$35 billion by 2035. In particular, FCEVs show promise for the heavy-duty sector, powering trucks that can operate as hub-to-hub connectors for the supply chain, mitigating the need for a diverse hydrogen fuel infrastructure. This increasing market share will see higher material demand for all of the components within PEM fuel cells, and a major outcome of this will be a reduction in cost of components as the economy of scale takes hold.
This report outlines several paths by which the cost of components will reduce, from optimisation of incumbent technology to emerging materials and automated manufacturing systems. For the case of BPP materials, a detailed overview is given of the diverse range of manufacturers and the various materials and manufacturing techniques currently implemented, and those that are proposed, with a discussion of the related price progression per plate as wider-scale uptake of FCEVs occurs.
Market drivers: catalysts for research and development
As governments seek to enact policy to assist the implementation of zero emission vehicles, specifically in urban environments, several government agencies have set targets for manufacturers and material suppliers to work towards, with the overall goal of reducing the cost of fuel cell technology to enable competition with BEVs and traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. This report covers the manner in which these targets impact the materials market for fuel cells, such as how US Department of Energy's (DOE) targets for the mass of catalyst in fuel cells is influencing the areas of material R&D.
Other factors driving R&D include the economic value of materials and efficiency of the fuel cell stack. The manner in which emerging materials can replace platinum in the fuel cell and reduce the cost of the catalyst (and CCM) is covered in the report, while the desire to increase the power density of the stack by reducing the form factor of components is most clearly evident in the development of thinner BPPs. The report covers novel coating techniques and manufacturing methods for producing these plates.
Comprehensive analysis and market forecasts
IDTechEx covers the electric vehicle industry comprehensively, detailing BEVs and FCEVs; with the FCEV research segmented by passenger car, light commercial vehicle (van), heavy duty trucks and city buses. Expertise on technical and market developments is built through interviewing major players on the global scale and attending several conferences.
This report offers granular 10-year market forecasts, derived from IDTechEx forecasts in the FCEV industry, for the materials demand for FCEVs for key fuel cell components (BPP, GDL, CCM, MEA, ionomer, etc) segmented by vehicle type. Forecasts are given for materials demand for components by both units and volume, while detailing the value associated with each of these components.
This report provides the following information
Technology trends:
  • Breakdown of the major components within a PEM fuel cell.
  • Comparison of various fuel cell technologies and applications.
  • Detailed discussion of considerations for component form factor and materials choice for PEM fuel cells for transportation.
  • Thorough comparison between incumbent materials and emerging technologies, including cost progression analysis.
  • Overview of dominant players and supply chain agreements for BPPs, GDLs, MEAs, and more.
  • Exploration of latest academic research with potential to disrupt the PEM fuel cell market through innovative technological advancements.
  • Primary information from key companies.
Value chain analysis:
  • Identification of the established players in the industry, including analysis of incumbent technologies, market share and existing supply chain agreements with OEMs.
  • BPP: Discussion of materials, coatings and manufacturing methods used by more than ten of the market leaders.
  • GDL: Outline of the major technological differentiators between the major players with information regarding supply chain and material demand.
  • Ionomer: Discussion of dominant incumbent material and supplier, with a quantitative analysis of emerging alternative suppliers.
  • Catalysts: Assessment of the key trends and regulations driving the sector and influencing key players.
Market Forecasts & Analysis:
  • 10-year granular market forecasts by material demand, volume and value for key components in PEM fuel cells: BPP, GDL, MEA, CCM including ionomer and catalysts.
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Table of Contents
1.1.Report Overview
1.2.What is a PEM fuel cell?
1.3.Major components for PEM fuel cells
1.4.Applications for fuel cells and major players
1.5.BPP: Purpose and form factor
1.6.Materials for BPPs: Graphite vs metal
1.7.BPP manufacturers flow chart
1.8.GDL: Purpose and form factor
1.9.GDL supply chain and key players
1.10.Membrane: Purpose and form factor
1.11.Market leaders for membrane materials
1.12.Property benchmarking of proton exchange membranes
1.13.Catalyst: Purpose and form factor
1.14.Trends for fuel cell catalysts
1.15.Key suppliers of catalysts for fuel cells
1.16.Balance of plant for PEM fuel cells
1.17.Overview of market forecasts
1.18.PEM fuel cell market for transport 2020-2033
1.19.Fuel cells within the FCEV market
2.1.1.Forecast methodology and assumptions
2.1.2.FCEV fuel cell demand (MW) 2018-2033
2.1.3.Fuel cell forecasts by vehicle type
2.1.4.PEM fuel cell market for transport 2020-2033
2.2.Market Forecasts - Bipolar Plates
2.2.1.BPP demand by vehicle type 2020-2033
2.2.2.BPP demand by plate material 2020-2033
2.2.3.BPP material demand by plate material 2020-2033
2.2.4.BPP market value by plate material 2020-2033
2.3.Market Forecasts - Gas Diffusion Layer
2.3.1.GDL demand forecast 2020-2033
2.3.2.GDL materials demand 2020-2033
2.3.3.GDL market value forecast 2020-2033
2.4.Market Forecasts - Membrane, Catalyst and CCM
2.4.1.PEM demand forecast 2020-2033
2.4.2.PEM value forecast 2020-2033
2.4.3.Catalyst (PGM) demand forecast 2020-2033
2.4.4.CCM value forecast 2020-2033
3.1.Introduction to fuel cells
3.2.What is a fuel cell?
3.3.PEMFC working principle
3.4.PEMFC assembly and materials
3.5.Membrane assembly terminology
3.6.Alternative fuel cell technologies
3.7.High temperature PEMFC (1)
3.8.High temperature PEMFC (2)
3.9.Comparison of fuel cell technologies
3.10.What is a fuel cell vehicle?
3.11.Attraction of fuel cell vehicles
3.12.Transport applications for fuel cells
3.13.PEMFC market players
3.14.Honda discontinue FC-Clarity: Weak demand
3.15.Korea subsidy incentives: FCEV push but BEV far ahead
3.16.Chinese FCEV Support
3.17.China fuel cell installed capacity 2020
3.18.Other Chinese fuel cell system manufacturers
4.1.Fuel cell passenger cars
4.2.Fuel cell cars in production
4.3.Toyota Mirai 2nd generation
4.4.Hyundai NEXO
4.5.Outlook for fuel cell cars
4.6.Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) - Vans
4.7.Fuel cell LCVs
4.8.Outlook for fuel cell LCVs
4.9.Truck Classifications
4.10.Heavy duty trucks: BEV or fuel cell?
4.11.Outlook for fuel cell trucks
4.12.Fuel cell buses
4.13.Main advantages/disadvantages of fuel cell buses
4.14.Outlook for fuel cell buses
5.1.1.Purpose of bipolar plate
5.1.2.BPP form factor
5.1.3.Effect of BPP form factor
5.1.4.Bipolar plate assembly (BPA)
5.2.Materials for BPPs
5.2.1.Important material parameters to consider for BPPs
5.2.2.Graphite as a BPP material
5.2.3.Metal as a BPP material
5.2.4.Cost progression of BPAs
5.2.5.Coatings are required for metal BPPs
5.2.6.Coating choices for metal BPPs
5.2.7.Manufacturing methods for BPPs
5.2.8.BPP manufacturers flow chart
5.3.BPP manufacturers
5.3.1.Kobe Steel
5.3.3.SGL Carbon
5.3.4.Nisshinbo Chemical Inc.
5.3.6.FJ Composite
5.3.11.Precision Micro
5.3.12.CFC Carbon
5.3.13.Comparison of graphite BPP suppliers
5.3.14.Ranked comparison of graphite BPPs
5.4.BPP coating specialists
5.4.1.Impact Coating
5.5.Latest trends and research for BPPs
5.5.1.Latest trends for BPPs
5.5.2.Latest developments for BPPs: Loop Energy
5.5.3.Latest developments for BPPs: CoBiP project
5.5.4.Additional early-stage commercial developments for BPPs
5.5.5.Latest academic research for BPPs
6.1.1.Role of the gas diffusion layer
6.1.2.Hydrophobic coating for GDLs
6.1.3.Wet vs dry GDL performance
6.1.4.GDL manufacturing process
6.1.5.Cellulosic fiber GDL: No MPL required
6.1.6.GDL latest research: focus on dual hydrophobic and hydrophilic behaviour
6.2.GDL Supply Chain and Players
6.2.1.GDL supply chain
6.2.2.GDL player: SGL Carbon
6.2.3.GDL player: Toray
6.2.4.GDL player: AvCarb
6.2.5.GDL player: Freudenberg
6.2.6.GDL market share for passenger cars
6.2.7.SGL Carbon - GDL market leader
6.2.8.GDL demand set to outstrip supply by 2027
7.1.1.Purpose of the membrane
7.1.2.Form factor of the membrane
7.1.3.Water management in the FC
7.2.Materials for the membrane
7.2.1.Important material parameters to consider for the membrane
7.2.2.Market leading membrane material: Nafion
7.2.3.Synthesis of Nafion
7.2.4.Alternative membrane materials to Nafion
7.2.5.Property benchmarking of alternative membranes
7.2.6.Gore manufacture MEAs
7.2.7.Metal-organic frameworks for membranes
7.2.8.Metal-organic frameworks for membranes: Academic research
7.2.9.Graphene in the membrane
8.1.1.Platinum as a catalyst
8.1.2.Catalyst coated membrane (CCM)
8.1.3.Targets for reducing loading of catalytic materials in fuel cells
8.1.4.Recycling of the catalyst
8.1.5.Overview of trends for catalysts
8.1.6.Increasing catalytic activity - alternative metals
8.1.7.Increasing catalytic activity - form factor
8.1.8.Reduction of catalyst poisoning
8.1.9.Reduction of cost of catalyst
8.2.Key Suppliers of Catalysts
8.2.1.Leading catalyst suppliers: Cataler Corporation
8.2.2.Leading catalyst suppliers: Umicore
8.2.3.Leading catalyst suppliers: Johnson Matthey
8.2.4.Leading catalyst suppliers: Tanaka, Heraeus and BASF
9.1.1.Filters for PEM fuel cells
9.1.2.Humidification for PEM fuel cells
9.1.3.Pumps for PEM fuel cells

Report Statistics

Slides 167
Forecasts to 2033
ISBN 9781915514271

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