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Hydrogen Market Overview
Growing investment in research and development for the development of hydrogen as a fuel is a key trend in the global hydrogen market. For instance, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2018, the worldwide hydrogen fuel cars market has reached 8,000 units, in which the U.S. and Japan have contributed to 90% of it. Recently, various countries have introduced different policies to boost the use of this fuel. For instance, the Government of France has launched a $116.8 million ambitious plan for the deployment of hydrogen-based vehicles such as buses, trucks, and boats in the country aiming to reduce carbon emission.
The hydrogen gas is represented with a molecular formula of H2. Physical properties of this gas include colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, and non-metallic. Its density at standard temperature and pressure (STP) is 0.08988 g/l. The gas also occurs naturally in air, in extremely minute concentrations. It is also the lightest and the most abundant element in the atmosphere. Japan and the U.S. are the main users of it, apart from these two countries, the five Nordic regions Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland have also started using it as a fuel in the form of bio-hydrogen. The hydrogen market is segmented on the basis of distribution, production process, end-use industry, and region.
The hydrogen market is classified on the basis of distribution into pipelines, high pressure tube trailers, and cylinders. Among these, pipeline transportation is the cheapest alternative for gas distribution, as transportation by trailers or cylinders require liquefaction of the gas, which is a very expensive process. Among these three, pipelines are widely used to deliver large volume of gas from one place to another. For example, there are about 1,600 miles of gas pipelines are laid in the U.S. for the gas transportation. The trailers are generally suitable for transportation of the gas over long distances.
The hydrogen market is categorized on the basis of production process into steam methane reforming, partial oxidation, coal gasification, and electrolysis of water. Out of these processes, steam methane reforming process to produce hydrogen gas holds the largest share in the market. This is attributed to the easy and abundant availability of methane, which is a primary raw material used in the process, making it the most preferred process in the market. Also, it is a relatively old process in which high temperature steam is used to produce the gas with the use of natural gas.
Based on end-use industry, the hydrogen market is classified into chemicals, aerospace and automotive, energy, refining, glass, and welding and metal fabrication. Among these, the chemicals industry occupies the largest market share, owing to increasing use of the gas as a fuel in the industry. It is mainly used in the production of ammonia and in the process of hydrocracking. It is also used as a hydrogenating agent in making unsaturated fats and oils such as margarine. It is also used in making methanol and hydrochloric acid. Furthermore, it is used as a reducing agent in the metal industry.
Based on region, the hydrogen market is categorized into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Latin America, and Middle East and Africa (MEA). Geographically, the APAC market is expected to grow at the highest rate, attributed to the increasing use of the gas in refineries where it is being used as a fuel. Furthermore, increasing development in hydrogen-based fuel cells in Japan and South Korea has increased the growth of the market. Also, automotive companies such as Toyota and Honda taking up initiative to boost the market. Apart from these, there is a plan to build a hydrogen city in Jinan east China.
Hydrogen Market Dynamics
Key factor driving the growth of the hydrogen market is growing hydrogen demand from the chemical industry. There is constant requirement for the gas in refineries in hydrocracker unit. As the refining market specially in countries such as China, India, and the middle eastern countries is growing at a steady rate, this would in turn boost the market growth.
Another key factor for the growth of the hydrogen market is the demand for fuel cells. With the growing concerns over the fossil fuel-based energy, which is degrading the environment, governments of various countries such as the U.S., Japan, and China have taken initiatives to increase the usage of hydrogen-based powered cars. Moreover, it would also decrease the dependency on crude oil to a large extent.
Growth of the hydrogen market is moderately restrained by high cost of production and transportation of the gas, thereby rendering the business as highly capital-intensive. Since the cost of liquefaction is very high, the transportation cost associated with it is also high. Moreover, storage of the gas is also of a complex issue and it requires spherical bulleted tanks with insulation. These may restrict the market growth in the future.
Hydrogen Market Competitive Landscape
Some of the major players operating in the global hydrogen market are Air Liquide, Linde, Praxair Inc., Air Products and Chemicals Inc., Showa Denko K.K. (SDK), In Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc., BASF SE, Messer Group GmbH, Universal Industrial Gases Inc., and Gulf Cryo.
The study provides the historical as well the forecast market size data for various countries, including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, the U.K., Italy, Russia, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.