Williamstown, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/11/2012 -- Hydrogen has number of applications from chemical processing, petroleum recovery and refining, metal production and fabrication, aerospace, and fuel cells. The sectors which impose the largest demand for hydrogen are petroleum refinery and ammonia production while automotive fuel is an emerging sector with huge potential in the future. Hydrogen can be generated by the company itself which is utilizing it and can also be purchased from hydrogen producers (other company). The former one called the captive production while later one is known as merchant production.
Market size of global hydrogen production is estimated to 53 million metric tons in 2010, in which 12% is shared by merchant hydrogen and rest with captive production. With decreasing sulfur level in petroleum products, lowering crude oil quality and rising demand of hydrogen operated fuel cell applications, global hydrogen production volume is forecasted to grow by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% during 2011 - 2016. Hydrogen production market in terms of value is estimated to be $82.6 billion in 2010.
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Hydrogen is either produced centrally or on-site. On-site generation (also known as distributed generation) eliminates number of problems associated with transportation and delivery and thus market for on-site generation system is growing significantly. Also, in recent years, small scale on-site generation option has become more lucrative since new on-site hydrogen generation technologies offering low cost when compared to delivered merchant hydrogen. When hydrogen is produced using a centralized plant, it has to be delivered to the point of consumption by various delivery modes such as pipeline, cylinders, trailers, etc.
For large quantities, pipelines are the preferred option. Although pipeline delivery is cheaper compared to packaged options like trailers in long term, but it can only be economically justified when quantity is sufficiently high. Pipelines require significant initial investment and thus preferred when sales are high. On the other hand, cylinders are used for small quantities and hence preferred by industries such as glass manufacturing, metal production and fabrication, food processing, electronics etc.
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