The global hydrogen generation market is witnessing significant growth on account of regulations set by various legislations across the globe leading to desulfurization of fuel used in transportation. Key drivers of such growth in the hydrogen generation market include growth in transportation fuels, and decline in crude quality that requires enhanced processing of hydrogen. Fuel cells are a viable option for various industries that require reliable and clean fuel sources. Advancements in the hydrogen fuel cell technology to reduce dependency on fossil fuels is expected to drive the market growth during the forecast period.
Hydrogen is produced in large quantities as a principal product and as a by-product that is used in industrial gas applications. Hydrogen consumers may buy hydrogen from an industrial gas company or a by-product producer, and install a hydrogen plant on-site. Companies engaged in producing crude oil that is extracted and refined by an industrial gas producer and sold to the hydrogen generating company.
Hydrogen is used extensively in applications such as chemical processing, combustion of crude oil, metal production, aerospace and fuel cell. Petroleum recovery and refining is one of the key application areas where hydrogen is used extensively for processing. The Middle East is expected to process huge volumes of natural gas, owing to higher crude production capacity that requires higher quantities of hydrogen to adhere to environmental standards. Increasing demand for distillate fuels is expected to further increase the hydrogen consumption. Distributed generation is a promising approach for providing local power. Each individual system is small; however, the islands or remote communities benefit from renewable hydrogen and offer a significant market opportunity.
Increased production of hydrogen with the use of current technologies results in consumption of greater amount of conventional hydrocarbons such as natural gas, which is expected to generate greater greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrogen production from renewable sources contributes to the production capacity with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The global hydrogen generation market has been experiencing high demand from Asia-Pacific region, owing to larger number of production plants and high refinery output in the region as compared to that in other regions. Demand in Asia-Pacific is expected to grow further, owing to rise in refining capacities in countries such as India, China, Korea and Malaysia. The North American market for hydrogen generation is expected to grow at a steady rate, owing to increased shale gas explorations and increased production in the region.
Some of the leading players in the global hydrogen generation market include Linde AG, Air Liquide SA, Air Products & Chemicals Inc., Praxair Inc., Airgas Inc., McPhy Energy, Idroenergy and Hydrogenics Corp.