According to an article in Reuters, Platinum companies have been investing heavily in fuel cells for the past few years hoping that hydrogen fuel cell cars will take off, increasing demand for the rare metal. The companies are worried that gasoline and diesel hybrids and battery electric cars may thwart the demand for fuel cell vehicles, driving down demand for the precious metal.
But, what they aren’t considering is that much of the emerging development of fuel cells is geared towards driving down the prices (ahem, uses less or no platinum). So, platinum companies may be in for hardship either way.
If fuel cell vehicles don’t grow in rapid numbers over the next 20 years, platinum demand may be depressed. But, in addition, researchers may also either minimize the platinum used in few cells or find robust, but cheaper alternatives during this time-frame.
Like Kodak not preparing for consumers moving to digital cameras, Platinum companies may do well not to count on fuel cells for future profits if they want to stay ahead of the business curve.