Fuel cell shipments will apparently exceed 5 million units per year by 2013, suggests the latest industry review of Fuel Cell Today.

The Review, titled ‘Fuel Cells: Emerging Markets’ and published last month, reports that 2008 saw shipments of 18,000 units mainly in the portable and stationary sectors.

In a series of exclusive five year forecasts, the Fuel Cell Today analysts anticipate that fuel cell shipments will substantially increase in key markets such as uninterruptible power supplies; combined cooling, heating and power; and fuel cells for portable devices.

Furthermore considerable uptake of fuel cells in key non-traditional ‘emerging market’ regions such as India, Latin America and the Middle East is anticipated.

Fuel cells are likely to become increasingly important as any projected ‘hydrogen economy’ becomes a reality, and drawing on recent developments in the portable fuel cell sector and in fuel cells for backup power, it’s thought that there will be a move from a supply-driven mode to a demand-driven model.

This trend will be particularly evident in the emerging market regions, where the potential for rapid and vast adoption of fuel cell technology is met with low cost manufacturing bases and sources of investment funds.

Three of the largest emerging markets are India, with its tiger economy status, the Middle East, with its desire to diversify its economies, and Latin American nations with their vast resources of renewable energy.