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The global solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) market has been forecast to hit a value of $358.7 million by 2018, primarily driven by the mass-production and commercialisation of these systems which in turn is accelerated by government subsidies, technological advancements, and the growing need for high-performance, energy-efficient, reliable clean energy solutions.
A SOFC is an electrochemical conversion device that produces electricity directly from oxidising a fuel. Fuel cells are characterised by their electrolyte material; the SOFC has a solid oxide or ceramic, electrolyte.
Solid oxide fuel cells have a wide variety of applications from use as auxiliary power units in vehicles to stationary power generation with outputs from 100 W to 2 MW.
Advantages of this class of fuel cells include high efficiency, long-term stability, fuel flexibility, low emissions, and relatively low cost. The largest disadvantage is the high operating temperature which results in longer start-up times and mechanical and chemical compatibility issues.
The ever-growing demand for energy from an increasingly populated and industrialised world is fuelling the need for next generation technologies that efficiently generate power with minimal ecological impact.
Fuel cell technology is at the forefront in this quest for clean energy amidst an era of depleting reserves of fossil fuels and rising per capita consumption of energy.
Stationary power generation plants represent the largest application area for SOFCs, due to their ability to operate in high temperatures, with generators, APUs, remote power units and CPUs together making up more than two-thirds of the end-use market for SOFCs.
The US, the UK and South Korea are following in the footsteps of pioneers, Germany, Japan and Denmark, in adopting fuel cell based residential CHPs.
For more information on the global SOFC market, see the latest research: Global SOFC Market
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