Barriers of scaling-up fuel cells: Cost, durability and reliability

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


Since its creation over 170 years ago, and despite major investments and efforts by stakeholders over the last few decades to move this technology to the mainstream, today fuel cells continue to be regarded as a fledgling industry. In spite of the commitment by industry leaders, analysis shows that their actions do not address the critical questions facing this technology: Why has scaling-up of fuel cells failed so often when many researchers have stated their successes in the small scale? Why do fuel cell stacks have lower durability, reliability and robustness than their individual cells? Could investments of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure stimulate advancements in the key issues of durability, reliability and robustness and substantially reduce fuel cell costs? In this paper, we will analyze and confront these fundamental questions to improve understanding of the challenges of scaling-up technologies and identify key barriers. Then we will examine options and suggest a procedure for change to substantially improve the durability and reliability of fuel cells and reduce their costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-521
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb. 2015


  • Barriers
  • Commercialization
  • Fuel cells
  • Hydrogen economy
  • Policy
  • Scale-up


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