The largest and most obvious market for portable power systems is the consumer electronics market, however there are many other applications. Portable fuel cells already provide reliable, high-quality power during emergency response situations such as military, law enforcement, transportation safety, and surveillance markets, as well as to non-emergency situations such as remote construction sites, lighted trade show displays, etc.
Portable fuel cells have the benefits of:
- long run times
- instant refueling capability
- silent operation
- lightweight compared to batteries.
The technology is well positioned to compete head to head with traditional batteries and fully replace them in almost every instance. They also offer environmental benefits when compared to the inefficient and largely combustion-based power grid and are environmentally more benign compared to batteries when it comes to recycling.
Fuel cells are increasingly being utilized as auxiliary power units (APUs) in specialized transportation applications that require hoteling loads for vehicles. The hoteling load is defined as any electrical power that is required by the vehicle for purposes other than the primary propulsion system, such as heating and lighting. The four main markets for fuel cell APUs are marine, trucking, aviation, and recreational vehicles. All these markets have the potential to use fuel cell technology initially in an APU function for vehicle hoteling loads, but in the future, the same technology can be used to assist the primary propulsion. APUs powered by a fuel cell system offers the benefit of reduced emissions, noise, vibration, fuel consumption, and size relative to conventional, internal combustion engine (ICE) APUs.