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Global Material Advancements in Next-generation Fuel Cells: Technology Analysis and Growth Opportunities

  • Report

  • 95 Pages
  • December 2021
  • Region: Global
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • ID: 5530664

The Need for High Performance and Cost Efficiency in Fuel Cells is Opening up Growth Opportunities in the Materials Space.

As the transition to a green economy becomes inevitable (it is economical and environment friendly), researchers will concentrate on the promotion, development, and adoption of green energy technologies. Among these sustainable technologies, fuel cells, which offer the potential to generate electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen electrochemically, demonstrate advantages such as high efficiency, low operating temperature, high power density, and low emission. In addition, fuel cells are considered potential candidates to mitigate CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by reducing dependency on fossil fuels and offering a better alternative - hydrogen, which can be produced through sustainable methods and promises to deliver decentralized and stabilized power plants.

However, concerns in terms of the high cost associated with these devices due to the use of noble metals such as platinum and palladium in the fabrication of different components of fuel cells and issues regarding the durability of these noble materials in acidic and basic environments are key challenges hindering the large-scale commercial growth of these electrochemical devices. As a result, researchers are focusing on innovating and developing new materials that can attenuate these techno-economic challenges and aid the growth of fuel cells.

This study focuses on identifying and analyzing innovation in the material science of various components such as cathodes, anodes, electrolytes, and catalysts of fuel cells. The materials captured are compared across 4 key technical parameters, that is, particle size (nm), electrical conductivity (S.cm-1), thermal expansion coefficient (K-1), and specific surface area (m2/g). The primary focus of the research is trying to find the most promising material for the fabrication of key components in fuel cells that can enable the commercial-scale production of these electrochemical devices.

The publisher has identified 6 key material technologies that will enable a cost-effective approach to fuel cell manufacturing; they are ceramics, composites, metal-based (metals and alloys), nanoparticles, polymers, and others (a supported form of metals on carbonaceous materials/polymers). At present, researchers are focused on nanoparticles due to their efficient application across all fuel cells, either as a based or a doped material. Nanostructures allow these materials to offer greater surface area, smaller particle size, and better porosity. The rising adoption of these materials in fuel cell fabrication will enable fuel cell manufacturers to set up economies of scale at the start of the commercialization phase and resolve major challenges such as high costs and unreliability for the wider application of fuel cell technologies.

Table of Contents

1.0 Strategic Imperatives
1.1 The Strategic Imperative 8™ Factors Creating Pressure on the Growth of Material Advancements in Next-generation Fuel Cells
1.2 The Strategic Imperative 8™
1.3 The Impact of the Top Three Strategic Imperatives on Material Advancements in Next-generation Fuel Cells
1.4 About the Growth Pipeline Engine™
1.5 Growth Opportunities Fuel the Growth Pipeline Engine™
1.6 Research Methodology

2.0 Growth Opportunity Analysis
2.1 Fuel Cells will Play an Important Role in the Low Carbon Transition
2.2 Fuel Cells’ Advantages over Conventional Batteries Drive Their Growth
2.3 Materials Development is Key to Overcoming the Challenges and the Unmet Needs of Fuel Cells
2.4 Research Scope and Key Questions the Study Will Answer
2.5 Key Materials in the Research Scope
2.6 Key Findings
2.7 Key Findings: Emerging Materials for Low-temperature Fuel Cells
2.8 Key Findings: Emerging Materials for High-temperature Fuel Cells

3.0 Technology Snapshot of Various Fuel Cells
3.1 Characteristics and Features of Low-temperature Fuel Cells
3.2 Characteristics and Features of High-temperature Fuel Cells

4.0 Cathodic Materials: Technology Assessment
4.1 Cathodic Materials for Fuel Cells: An Introduction
4.2 Ceramics are Emerging as the Most Promising Cathode Materials
4.3 Alloys Help to Achieve High Catalytic Activity While Reducing Costs
4.4 Carbon-based Cathodes Coated with Noble Metals are Gaining Traction in Cathode Fabrication
4.5 Lanthanum-based Perovskite Materials Witness the Highest Adoption among Ceramic Materials
4.6 Lanthanum-based Materials Doped with Strontium Promise Better Electrochemical Performance in High-temperature Fuel Cells
4.7 Composites Exhibit Relatively Lower Thermal Conductivity than Ceramic-based Cathode Materials
4.8 The Increasing Concentration of GDC/YSZ in Composites can Enhance the Electrical Conductivity of Cathodes
4.9 Carbon-based Nanomaterials can find Application in Microbial Fuel Cells
4.10 Carbon Cloth can Outperform Other Nanomaterials if Used in MFCs
4.11 Comparative Assessment of Cathodic Materials Showcases that Ceramics will be the Key Material in Cathode Fabrication

5.0 Anodic Materials: Technology Assessment
5.1 Anodic Materials for Fuel Cells: An Introduction
5.2 Nickel-based Materials are Widely Used as Anode Materials in Fuel Cells
5.3 At Present, Nickel-based Composites are the Most Commonly Used Materials in Anode Fabrication
5.4 NiO/SDC is Gaining Traction as a Potential Material for Anode Fabrication
5.5 Oxide-based Anodes Provide Excellent Oxidation/Reduction Stability
5.6 Tin Oxide will see the Highest Adoption in Ceramic Anode Materials
5.7 Electron Conductivity can be Improved if Nanomaterials are Used in Anode Fabrication
5.8 Carbon Nanotubes are Considered to be a Promising Support Nanomaterial for Anode Fabrication
5.9 Metal Alloys are more Economical than Ceramic Materials; they also Offer Higher Conductivity
5.10 The Potential Price Advantage of Alloys Makes them a Promising Alternative for Use in Metal-based Anode Materials
5.11 Conductive Polymers are Being Researched for Anode Fabrication
5.12 Large Surface Area and Electron Conductivity Play an Important Part in Improving the Performance of Anodic Materials
5.13 Composites and Ceramics are the Preferred Anode Materials

6.0 Electrolyte Materials: Technology Assessment
6.1 Electrolytes for Fuel Cells: An Introduction
6.2 Ceramics and Polymers are the Most Commonly Used Electrolytes in Fuel Cells
6.3 The Development of Conductive Ceramic Electrolytes is Becoming a Key Area of Focus
6.4 Conventional YSZ Electrolytes are Being Replaced with Materials that Offer High Ionic Conductivity
6.5 Comparison of the Key Ceramic Materials Used as Electrolytes in Fuel Cells
6.6 Polymer Electrolytes are Witnessing the Highest Adoption in Low-temperature Fuel Cell Applications
6.7 Sulfonated Polymers are the Most Commonly Used Materials in the Fabrication of Electrolytes
6.8 Comparison of the Key Polymeric Materials Used as Electrolytes in Fuel Cells
6.9 The Electrolytes Used Vary Based on Fuel Cell Requirements and End Application Needs

7.0 Catalytic Materials: Technology Assessment
7.1 Catalytic Materials for Fuel Cells: An Introduction
7.2 Metals Doped on Carbonaceous Materials are Gaining Traction as Catalysts in Fuel Cells
7.3 Metal-supported Forms are Considered a Better Alternative to Black Forms and Metal Alloys
7.4 Supported Form Catalysts Offer Greater Surface Area than the Black Form
7.5 Polymer-supported Catalysts can Improve Catalytic Durability and Stability
7.6 Pt/C/PANI Polymers are Gaining Traction as Fuel Cell Catalytic Materials
7.7 The Ability to Provide Large Specific Surface Area Drives Research in Nanomaterials for Use as Catalysts
7.8 Bimetallic Materials Supported on Nanostructures Promise Enhanced Electrocatalytic Activity
7.9 Catalysts Modified with Polymers Offer Better Stability than Metals and Alloys

8.0 Noteworthy R&D Efforts in Materials for Fuel Cells
8.1 Intensive R&D of Catalyst Performance by Stakeholders
8.2 Research in PEM Fuel Cells are the Most Targeted Area in Commercialized Innovation

9.0 Patent Analysis
9.1 IP Trends in Fuel Cell Materials have been Rising for the Last 3 Years
9.2 Trend Analysis of IP Filing of the Key Materials Used in Different Fuel Cell Components
9.3 IP Analysis Showcases a Focus on Nanomaterials for Anode Fabrication in Fuel Cells
9.4 China Leads Patent Filings for Fuel Cell Cathodic Materials
9.5 IP Filing in Electrolyte Materials Takes a Backseat as Research in Cathode Materials Gains Prominence
9.6 Patent Filings in Catalytic Materials for Fuel Cells is on the Rise

10.0 Growth Opportunity Universe
10.1 Growth Opportunity 1: Nanomaterials as Support Materials to Increase Fuel Cell Performance
10.2 Growth Opportunity 2: Reducing Pt Content by Doping Alternative Materials to Improve Fuel Cells’ Economic Viability
10.3 Growth Opportunity 3: Development of Standards and Tests for Material Performance Benchmarking

11.0 Appendix
11.1 Technology Readiness Levels (TRL): Explanation

12.0 Next Steps
12.1 Your Next Steps
12.2 Legal Disclaimer