Research Papers

Exploration and Prioritization of Fuel Cell Commercialization Barriers for Use in the Development of a Fuel Cell Roadmap for California

[+] Author and Article Information
Josh Eichman, Scott Samuelsen

National Fuel Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3550

Jack Brouwer1

National Fuel Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3550jb@nfcrc.uci.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(5), 051017 (Jul 20, 2010) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000689 History: Received September 01, 2009; Revised September 14, 2009; Published July 20, 2010; Online July 20, 2010

Barriers to fuel cell commercialization are often introduced as general challenges, such as cost and durability, without definition of the terms and usually without prioritizing the degree to which each of these barriers hinder the development of fuel cell technology. This work acts to objectively determine the importance of technology barriers to fuel cell commercialization and to develop a list of appropriate actions to overcome these barriers especially as they relate to the California market. Using previous fuel cell roadmaps and action plans along with feedback from the fuel cell community, benchmarks (i.e., the current technology status), and milestones (i.e., the desired technology status) for fuel cell technology are explored. Understanding the benchmarks and milestones enables the development of a list of fuel cell commercialization barriers. These barriers or gaps represent issues, which if addressed will enhance the market feasibility and acceptance of fuel cell technologies. The research process determined that the best technique to address these barriers, and bridge the gaps between fuel cell benchmarks and milestones, is to develop specific research projects to address individual commercialization barriers or collections of barriers. This technique allows for a high resolution of issues while presenting the material in a form that is conducive to planning for organizations such as industry, regulatory bodies, universities, and government entities that desire to pursue the most promising projects. The current analyses resulted in three distinct research and development areas that are considered most important based on the results. The first and most important research and development area is associated with technologies that address the connection and interaction of fuel cells with the electric grid. This R&D area is followed in importance by the production, use, and availability of opportunity fuels in fuel cell systems. The third most important category concerned the development and infrastructure required for transportation related fuel cell systems. In each of these areas the fuel cell community identified demonstration and deployment projects as the most important types of projects to pursue since they tend to address multiple barriers in many different types of markets for fuel cell technology. Other high priority types of projects are those that addresses environmental and grid-related barriers. The analyses found that cost/value to customer, system integration, and customer requirements were the most important barriers that affect the development and market acceptance of fuel cell technology.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 4

Summary of findings

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Figure 1

Methodology for bridging the technology gap

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Figure 2

Project score distributions

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Figure 3

Fuel cell roadmap



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