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 The U.S. market for fuel cell products and systems -including spending on research and product development, prototyping, test marketing, demonstration programs, etc., as well as commercial product sales - will expand close to fourfold through 2006 to $3.3 billion and reach $8.8 billion in 2011. It remains highly probable that electric power generation - most likely in a distributed generation or backup/standby mode - will emerge as the initial large-scale commercial application for fuel cells. Portable electronic device applications are expected to emerge fairly quickly, with fuel cells initially serving as battery backup, and as a stand-alone power source later in the decade. The automotive fuel cell area remains plagued with technical problems - many relating to on-board fuel reformers and fueling infrastructure in general -and high cost barriers. Widespread commercialization of automotive fuel cells is not expected until the end of the decade at the very earliest. Other potential applications include industrial stationary and motive power systems (such as in-plant vehicles), and aerospace equipment. Of the several types of fuel cell electrolyte chemistries presently under investigation, proton-exchange membrane (PEM, including variant direct methanol) and solid-oxide (SOFC) appear most likely to achieve large-scale commercialization in the shortest amount of time. (Data and information from Fuel Cells, published by The Freedonia Group, Tel: 440-684-9600.) (04-02 BD73-6)

 

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