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09 February 2021, New York, USA – The global microbial fuel cell (MFC) market is likely to register strong growth during the 2021-2028 periods, thanks to the growing demand for key applications including power generation, wastewater treatment, and growing new opportunities in healthcare, and education sector. According to the US energy department, the year 2016 became a game-changer for growth for fuel cell technology. This year, Home Depot installed fuel cell technology in more than 140 sites of its countrywide reach. According to the company’s press release, the company generated more than 138 million kWh of clean energy since 2014 with the usage of fuel cells, saving it 31,000,000 gallons of water. The growth has more than tripled since 2016 in the business world. For example, Plug Power Inc., a supplier of hydrogen fuel cells shipped more than 32,000 fuel cells in 2020, tripling its sales from five years ago. Furthermore, companies like IKEA, and EBay have installed fuel cell technology at their stores, and data centers. Furthermore, over 15,000 fuel cell-operated forklifts remained in operation in 2016, according to the US Department of Energy. The use of microbial fuel cells in combination with biofilms promises even higher energy outputs as compared to conventional hydrogen-based fuel cells. For example, the MFCs convert energy with far more efficiency and can reach 60% efficiency in fuel consumption in vehicles. On the other hand, conventional energy reaches 20% to 33% in practical applications, due to barriers like Carnot efficiency. The MFCs also promise 8 times more energy efficiency for conventional hydrogen cells promising robust growth for its practical application in areas like biosensors, monitoring, and evaluation.
Wastewater Treatment to Remain a Key Driver of Growth in the Global MFC Market
According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States, pollutants, and their impact on the environment remains a grave concern today. The agency estimated that 53% river, and stream miles, 80% of estuarine square miles, and 71% of lake acres, and 98% great lakes shorelines remain in impaired condition. According to the EPA, this makes them unacceptable for one or more application or designated use. Furthermore, 19% households in the United States are not served by public sewers, and are reliant on septic tanks to treat, and dispose wastewater. This creates a danger of contaminating groundwater, and surface water reservoir in the near future. According to a study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the microbial fuel cell technology promises to be a sustainable high-value recovery solution for waste water treatment. According to the report, the technology enables direct recovery of electric energy, and value-added products. Moreover, it also offers good effluent quality and low environmental footprint, and meets key needs like real-time monitoring, and control for good operating stability. Furthermore, the technology offers key advantages of efficiency in removal of aqueous contaminants. For example, according to the RSC study, the process helps efficient removal of metals, sulphur compounds, nutrients, and recalcitrant organics, among others with effluent quality - COD < 20 mg L−1. the scaling up of the technology remains a key challenge for growth for players in the global microbial fuel cells market, as large water surfaces mandate heavy use in industry-related applications. Despite the challenge, the efficiency, and value-added of the technology promises strong growth for players in the 2021-2028 period.
Growing R&D Remains a Key Driver of Growth in the MFC Market
According to the US Department of Energy, during 1977-2019, there were 1113 patents awarded in the area of fuel cell research. These included 582 fuel cell patents, 397 hydrogen production, and delivery patents, and 134 hydrogen storage patents. Moreover, 43% of these patents are actively used in the field, with demand for applications like hydrogen fuel cell, and storage, and delivery promising robust growth in the near future. The private players also contribute strongly to growth of fuel cell technology, as 47% of the patent research was led by private firms. The rising interest in new areas like healthcare, battery technology, environment conservation, and education remains promising draws for growth for players in the global microbial fuel cells market. For example, today, microbial fuel cell technology promises to replace conventional batteries. MFCs can be operated on a small scale, providing much-needed impetus for small devices like smartphone batteries, with a renewable energy source. For example, Sony has taken a key leader in developing biological batteries that can deliver 50 mW of energy output. The energy output is sufficient for powering small devices like mp3 players. Sony plans to release these batteries in the market soon in devices like kid toys, and other entertainment small devices. Major universities around the world including Stanford and Northeastern are also in the process of experimenting and researching bio batteries as sources of alternative energy. These batteries show promise in the healthcare industry, and as educational tools for imparting stem education.
The global microbial fuel cells market remains an open, innovative, and fragmented landscape. The growing research and development in the landscape, growing funding from key regulatory agencies, and development of promising new applications will likely result in robust growth for players in the global microbial fuel cell market during the 2021-2028 period. Some key players in the global microbial fuel cell market are, Vinpro Technologies, Triqua International BV, Cambrian Innovation Inc, MICROrganic Technologies, Sainergy Tech, Inc, Microbial Robotics, Prongineer, Fluence Corporation, ElectroChem, and Emefcy, Protonex.
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