The global hydrogen compressor market was valued at USD 1.43 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach USD 1.91 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 5.28% during the forecast period of 2021-2026. Due to COVID-19 impact, several countries across the globe imposed lockdowns and restrictions. This caused a demand-supply gap in industries using hydrogen, thus, having a negative impact on the market. For instance, with oil price slashing down to the lowest in decades and a sudden drop in demand from the transportation sector, refining crude oil operations experienced several disruptions. Factors such as the increase in demand for hydrogen from end-user industries, such as fertilizers and oil refineries, and increasing deployment of hydrogen pipeline infrastructure globally for transportation are likely to drive the hydrogen compressor market during the forecast period. However, the slowdown in industrial and economic activities due to a sharp decline in manufacturing activity and global trade, with higher tariffs and prolonged trade policy uncertainty, is expected to decrease the demand for capital goods from industries using hydrogen, thereby restraining the growth of the market studied.
The oil-based segment is expected to dominate the hydrogen compressor market over the forecast period, owing to their lower cost, longer life, and more efficiency, thus, considered ideal for operations in various industries.
The technological advancements and emerging sources for hydrogen production using electrolysis in combination with cleaner sources, such as solar and wind, are likely to provide ample opportunities for the market’s growth.
Asia-Pacific is expected to dominate the hydrogen compressor market during the forecast period, with the majority of the demand coming from China, India, and Japan.
Key Market Trends
Oil-based Type Segment to Dominate the Market
Oil-based lubricated compressors cost less, provide a longer service life compared to oil-free compressors, and are considered ideal for commercial and industrial applications until and unless in industries, where consequences of oil contamination are considered very high and having an oil-free compressor is a must.
In terms of capital outlay, lubricated oil-based compressors are often considered less expensive than oil-free compressors, with price differences often varying in the range of 30-40%. It may even reach 50%, depending upon factors, such as capacity and industry-specific requirements, among others, and in turn, resulting in the increased demand for oil-based hydrogen compressors.
Although oil-based compressors are more affordable than oil-free, these compressors require continuous maintenance and greater attention in replacing filters and other components used to eliminate the risk of oil leakage. Ongoing oil contamination may result in severe consequences, such as spoiled or unsafe products, production downtime, and legal issues.
Oil-based hydrogen compressors are mostly preferred in manufacturing industry (Glass Purification, Iron and Steel Industry, Semiconductor Manufacturing, etc. for operations like welding, annealing and heat-treating of metals), Power Plants (Coolant for Generators), Aerospace Applications, Pharmaceuticals, etc.
However, the outbreak of COVID-19 is expected to cause a significant impact on the usage of oil-based hydrogen compressors due to global economic slowdown, a drop in industrial activities, and a drop in demand for raw and manufactured goods across the world. The chemical industry also saw a slowdown due to supply chain disruptions and a decrease in the global demand due to uncertainty in the global economy and the capital markets. The Asia-Pacific region, which holds a significant share of the chemical production sector, saw a 3.9% drop in chemical production as early as February 2020 compared to February 2019. However, this situation is likely to change once the global economies recover and bounce back to their pre-COVID-19 levels in the coming years.
Therefore, based on the above-mentioned factors, oil-based type segment is expected to dominate the global hydrogen compressor market during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market
Asia-Pacific is expected to be the promising market for fuel cells in the coming years, on account of the favorable government policies in countries such as China, Japan, and India.
China is one of the largest and fastest-growing hydrogen compressor markets in the world. The country has witnessed significant growth in its chemical, oil, and gas, and manufacturing sectors in recent years.
Hydrogen centrifugal compressors are used in ethylene plants for cracked-gas compression and refrigeration services. With such upcoming projects, the demand for hydrogen compressors’ application in ethylene plants is projected to increase in China.
Owing to production shortages of ethylene and benzene, the country has been investing to increase its production capacity of ethylene and benzene.
The Indian fertilizer industry witnessed remarkable growth in the past five decades. As of 2020, it is the second-largest producer of nitrogenous fertilizers and third-largest in phosphatic fertilizers globally.? During FY19, India produced 415 lakh metric tons (LMT) of fertilizers, with a registered growth of over 1% in the past five years. This trend is expected to continue over the forecast period, leading to an increase in demand for hydrogen compressors.
Furthermore, the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and Japan’s aim to build hydrogen fuel stations for recharging the vehicles are expected to drive the hydrogen compressor market. For instance, in Japan, 11 domestic firms, including automakers and energy firms, made a consortium to build 80 fueling stations for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2022 to create a market for the next-gen fuel cell vehicle. As of September 2021, Japan has 154 hydrogen fueling stations and another 11 in the planning or construction stage. This, in turn, is expected to drive the hydrogen compressor demand for hydrogen fuel stations during the forecast period.??
Therefore, based on the above-mentioned factors, Asia-Pacific is expected to dominate the hydrogen compressor market globallu during the forecast period.
The hydrogen compressor market is moderately fragmented. Some of the major companies include Corken Inc., Ariel Corporation, Burckhardt Compression AG, Howden Group Ltd, and Atlas Copco Group.
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