[email protected] +44 20 8123 2220 (UK) +1 732 587 5005 (US) Contact Us | FAQ |

Micro Fuel Cells for Handheld Consumer Electronic Products – a Global Industry and Market Analysis

April 2007 | 119 pages | ID: MBF5F2FF42CEN
Innovative Research & Products, Inc

US$ 2,650.00

E-mail Delivery (PDF), Hard Copy Mail Delivery

Download PDF Leaflet

Wire Transfer
Checkout Later
Need Help? Ask a Question
Print Copy - US$2,650.00
Single User License - US$2,950.00
Multi-User License at the Same Location - US$3,450.00
Enterprise License - US$4,950.00


A micro fuel cell (MFC) is an electrochemical device that converts the chemical energy of fuel, such as hydrogen or methanol or some patented fuel, into electrical energy. Unlike batteries, which require recharging, fuel cells can continuously produce electricity as long as there is a constant fuel supply. Though no universally accepted definition exists for micro fuel cells, the term typically describes small fuel-cell systems that provide less than 50 watts of power.

Fuel cells have unique technological attributes: efficiency, absence of moving parts, and low emissions. However, compelling technology alone does not provide a viable business model. Market demand for portable, power-hungry devices and the corresponding need to power them are critical market drivers for micro fuel cells, whereas stationary and transportation applications for fuel cells rely more heavily on environmental and regulatory drivers. Within the fuel cell industry, many analysts believe that micro fuel cells will be the first fuel cell systems to achieve widespread acceptance in consumer markets, despite the fact that stationary and transportation fuel cell systems are further along in technological development.

To date, small scale power supplies have been the missing link in the information revolution – the obstacle to the ubiquitous computing environments and smart machines heralded as the next big wave of silicon intelligence.

Within the decade, however, all this will change. As the micro-device market grows, coming innovations will redefine the personal use of power. The individual will now be free from the household and workplace power grids, relying when desired, on personal (and personalized) mobile power systems. Connectivity, communication, and knowledge management will be forever changed.

Small-scale power systems will enhance innumerable new, as well as existing, wireless devices. Uses will run the gamut from augmenting cell phones and laptop computers to powering communicating cameras as well as new applications.

STUDY GOAL AND OBJECTIVES

This study focuses on key micro fuel cell products and provides data about the size and growth of the micro fuel cell market for handheld electronic consumer products segment, with company profiles and industry trends. The report also includes a detailed and comprehensive multi-client study of the market in North America, Europe, Japan, China, India, Korea and the rest of the world (ROW) for micro fuel cells and potential business opportunities in the future. The objectives include thorough coverage of the underlying economic issues driving the micro fuel cell business, as well as assessments of new advanced micro fuel cells that companies are developing. Also covered are legislative pressures for greater safety and environmental protection, as well as users’ expectations for economical micro fuel cells. Another important objective is to provide realistic market data and forecasts for micro fuel cells. This report provides the most thorough and up-to-date assessment that can be found anywhere on the subject. The study also provides extensive quantification of the many important facets of market developments in micro fuel cells in the world. This, in turn, contributes to the determination of strategic responses that companies may adopt in order to compete in this dynamic market.

REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY

The micro fuel cell market is an attractive and still-growing, multi-million dollar market characterized: by very high production volumes, extreme demands for reliability, and low cost. The multi-billion dollar global portable electronics industry and the consumers who buy its products both have an undeniable need for the improved portable power projected to come from micro fuel cell technology that may replace lithium ion batteries as the energy source of choice for portable applications like personal digital assistants (PDAs), digital cameras, smart phones and other portable electronic products. This growing need for longer-lasting power comes from consumer demands for increased intelligence and functionality, such as more memory, color screens and multi-purpose devices like "smart" cell phones that are also digital cameras and PDAs, as well as improvements in technology that make such devices possible. In addition, more and more portable devices are connected to a network, which encourages users to leave them on constantly. Finally, the new wave of wireless products now hitting the markets cannot be truly wireless, until they lose the power cord for recharges. All these trends require more energy. Micro fuel cells have the potential to offer up to ten times the energy of current battery technologies.

High-energy demand for portable electronics has made micro fuel cell technology more attractive to many scientists and engineers as well as to entrepreneurs interested in ventures in the new energy arena. Fuel cells have potentially higher energy density than batteries and promise a power boost for portable electronics. There is a potentially enormous market for fuel cells in the area of portable electronics. However, developing a fuel cell system for portable electronics presents several engineering challenges. For fuel cells to become a mainstream product, micro fuel cell systems must have superior performance and be cost-competitive with batteries. They must be safe to transport and environmentally friendly.

Micro fuel cells will become an important differentiator for products ranging from laptops to phones, but the market is still only in the development stage. Achieving great improvements in fuel cells has always been a tough task for scientists. Chemistry and clever engineering will draw out the technology's vast potential and address many of the vexing problems.

This study provides a technical overview of the fuel cell systems and market potential most appropriate for portable consumer devices, looking at major technology developments and existing barriers. It then explores the commercialization of micro fuel cells from two perspectives: as a potential technology for high power consumer devices and as an important market segment of fuel cell technology.

SCOPE AND FORMAT

The market data contained in this report quantify opportunities for micro fuel cells for handheld electronic consumer products. In addition to product types, it also covers many issues concerning the merits and future prospects of micro fuel cells, including corporate strategies, information technologies, and the means for providing these highly advanced products and service offerings. It also covers in detail the economic and technological issues regarded by many as critical to the industry’s current state of development. The report provides a review of the micro fuel cells industry and its structure, and the companies involved in providing these products. The competitive positions of the main players in the micro fuel cell market and the strategic options they face are also discussed, as well as such competitive factors as marketing, distribution and operations.

REPORT SUMMARY

Fuel cells have potentially higher energy density than batteries and promise a significant increase in power availability for portable electronics. However, developing a fuel cell system for portable electronics presents several engineering challenges. To achieve high energy density requires miniaturization of the “rest of the system,” which can be achieved by incorporation of emerging MEMS technology. High conversion efficiency also presents a challenge to portable electronics designers to provide high efficiency electronics that support fuel cell operation. An additional challenge concerns the safety of a micro fuel cell system, particularly with respect to fuel handling and storage.

There is a potentially enormous market for fuel cells in the area of portable electronics. However, to become mainstream product, micro fuel cell systems must have superior performance and competitive cost with batteries. They must be safe to transport and environmentally friendly. Among portable power sources, however, micro fuel cells are not likely to replace batteries in all applications.

Achieving an attractive cost-to-power ratio (cost) and providing a viable weight-to power ratio (energy density) are the two major challenges driving commercial research and development efforts in fuel cell technology. Scientists can achieve such improvements through materials, components, design, or fabrication techniques. Development efforts range from basic technology work to optimization for specific applications.

The fuel cell industry generally categorizes technologies by the electrolyte they use, and different fuel cells serve different applications. For example, proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are good candidates for mobile applications in consumer goods because of their high energy density and low operating temperatures. Fuel cells that use phosphoric acid, molten carbonate, or solid oxide are more appropriate for stationary applications because of their relative complexity and high operating temperatures

Major findings of this report are:
  • High energy requirements for portable electronics have made micro fuel cell technology more attractive to many scientists and engineers as well as to entrepreneurs interested in ventures in the new energy arena.
  • In 2006, the global micro fuel cell market was worth $12.2 million. This is expected to increase to $ 111.7 million by 2011 with an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 55.7% from 2006 to 2011.
  • From 2006 to 2011, portable digital assistants (PDAs) will show the highest growth rate reaching 89.8%, followed by camcorders, chargers and other consumer electronics at an AAGR of 83.7 %, and mobile phone applications at 50.7%.
  • More than sixty companies and institutions worldwide are active in the field of miniaturized fuel cell systems.

INTRODUCTION

Study Goal and Objectives
Reasons for Doing the Study
Contributions of the Study
Scope and Format
Methodology
Information Sources
Target Audience for the Study
Author’s Credentials

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

Study Goal and Objectives
Reasons for Doing the Study
Contributions of the Study
Scope and Format
Methodology
Information Sources
Whom the Study is Addressed to
Author’s Credentials

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

Industry Structure
Global Markets

TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW

Safety
High Energy Density
Cost
Electronics
Definitions
Micro Fuel Cell Theory
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
Proton Exchange (polymer Electrolyte) Membrane Fuel Cells
Direct Borohydride Fuel Cells
Formic Acid Fuel Cells
Chip-size Fuel Cells
Proprietory Fuel Based Fuel Cells (alkaline Fuel Cell)
Applications
Mobile Phones
Notebook Computers
Portable Digital Assistant (pda)
Other Handheld Electronic Consumer Products Including ic Chips
Current Materials Used in Micro Fuel Cells
Liquid Methanol
Hydrogen and Hydrogen Battery
Membrane Electrode Assembly (mea)
Emerging Materials for Micro Fuel Cells
Fuel Cell/hydrogen Infrastructure Codes and Standards
Standards and Applicable Safety Regulations for Micro Fuel Cells for Electronic Consumer Products
Underwriters Lab
Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (icao)
U.S. Department of Transportation
Fuel Cartridge Distribution

INDUSTRY CHARACTERSTICS

Competition and Market Dynamics
Partnership and Consolidation
Market Size
Regional Market

PATENTS AND PATENT ANALYSIS

List of Patents
Patent Analysis
Patents on Micro Fuel Cells
International Overview of us Patent Activity in Microfuel Cells

COMPANY PROFILES

3m
Angstrom Power Incorporated
Antig Technology co Ltd
Canon
Toshiba Corporation
Ultracell Corporation (USA)

Appendix a: Militrary Versus Consumer Markets
Operational /functional Differences With a Battery Pack Versus MFC
Military Market Versus Non-military Handheld Consumer Electronics Market

LIST OF TABLES

Summary Table: Global Market for Micro Fuel Cells by Application, 2006 and 2011
Table 1: Representative List of Major Suppliers of Micro Fuel Cells and MFC Components 2006
Table 2: Share of World Market of top Five Companies Manufacturing Micro Fuel Cells (for Handheld Electronic Consumer Segment) 2006
Table 3: Summary of Global Market for Micro Fuel Cells by Technology Through 2011
Table 4: The Language of Micro Fuel Cells
Table 5: Comparison of DMFC and PEFC Technologies Used in Micro Fuel Cells for Handheld Electronic Consumer Products
Table 6: Average Sales Price of Battery Pack for Handheld Electronic Consumer Products by Application V/S Micro Fuel Cells Average Prices, 2006-2011
Table 7: Forecast of Micro Fuel Cells in Mobile Phones
Table 8: Forecast of Micro Fuel Cells in Laptops, 2006-2011
Table 9: Forecast of Micro Fuel Cells in Portable Digital Assistants (PDAS), 2006-2011
Table 10: Forecast of Micro Fuel Cells in Other Handheld Electronic Consumer Products (digital Music Systems, Camcorders, Digital Cameras, Battery Chargers), 2006-2011
Table 11: Handheld Consumer Electronic Products-power Requirement Assumptions
Table 12: Summary of Types of Parts V/S Technology in Micro Fuel Cells, Excluding Mea
Table 13: Key Suppliers of Components of Micro Fuel Cells, 2006
Table 14: Emerging Advanced Materials for Micro Fuel Cells for Consumer Electronics Products
Table 15: Acquisition Deals Among Manufacturers of Micro Fuel Cells, 2000 to 2006
Table 16: Summary of Global Market for Micro Fuel Cells by Application Through 2011
Table 17: Summary of Global Market for Micro Fuel Cells by Region Through 2011
Table 18: Number of US Patents Granted to Companies Manufacturing Micro Fuel Cells From 2002 Through 2006 (up to Aug31)
Table 19: Number of US Patents Granted by Assigned Country/region for Micro Fuel Cells From January 2001 to August 2006
Table 20: Company Product Reference of Micro Fuel Cells
Table 21: Share of Military Market V/S Non-military Consumer Electronics Market of Micro Fuel Cells by top Three Manufacturers

LIST OF FIGURES

Summary Figure: Global Market Share of Micro Fuel Cells by Application 2006-2011
Figure 1: Global Percentage Share for Micro Fuel Cells 2006 and 2011
Figure 2: Plots of the Energy Density V/S the Ratio of Fuel Volume to Total System Volume
Figure 3: Percentage Share of Global Market for Micro Fuel Cells by Application in 2006 and 2011
Figure 4: Regional Percentages of Market Share for Micro Fuel Cells in 2006 and 2011
Figure 5: Top Companies in Terms of us Patents Granted for Micro Fuel Cells From 2002 Through 2006


More Publications