Standard Article

Potential economic impact of fuel cell technologies

Fuel Cell Technology and Applications

Future prospects of fuel cell systems

  1. E. Jochem1,2,
  2. E. Schirrmeister1

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f313111

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Jochem, E. and Schirrmeister, E. 2010. Potential economic impact of fuel cell technologies. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Fraunhofer Institute Systems and Innovation Research, Karlsruhe, Germany

  2. 2

    Center of Energy Policy and Economics, Zürich, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


This section analyses the possible impacts on regional economies and employment from the introduction of the fuel cell into cars and as stationary small co-generation plants into buildings and homes. For this purpose, the components of the new propulsion system or co-generation plant are analyzed and assumed to substitute the components of the traditional components by using input/output analysis. The results demonstrate that there are substantial changes within the car and boiler industries and also in the outfitter and supplier industries. Depending on the car manufacturer's decision of what, where and by whom production will take place, the technological change may substantially influence a regional economy. The effect on employment of an annual production of half a million fuel cell-driven cars ranges from an additional 40 000 jobs to job losses of 10 000. The chances and risks of this new energy-converting technology require a sensitive and forward-looking attitude of many players in a country or region producing cars or boilers, power and co-generation plants today.


  • economies of scale;
  • employment: indirect employment;
  • net employment;
  • cost: external cost;
  • exports;
  • imported components;
  • imported fuel cells;
  • input/output analysis;
  • industrial structural change;
  • market introduction;
  • emissions;
  • environmental impact