The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by growth in demand for renewable power, the need for grid reliability and resilience, and grid integration, and the growing importance of technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries, lead-acid batteries, and sodium-based batteries. In the last three years alone, there have been over 439,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environment Sustainability in Power: Adaptive energy storage.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

90+ innovations will shape the power industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 83,000 patents, there are 90+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, smart lighting system, PCM thermal energy storage, solid electrolyte fuel cell membrane are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Ceramic oxide nuclear fuel, geothermal heat pumps, and hybrid PV plants are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are combined-cycle gas turbines and ethylene co-polymer PV modules, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the power industry

Adaptive energy storage is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Intelligent applications that monitor demand-supply profiles and control the charge/discharge rates of energy storing devices are used in adaptive energy storage using batteries or other storage devices.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of adaptive energy storage.

Key players in adaptive energy storage – a disruptive innovation in the power industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Dominion Energy is one of the leading patent filers in adaptive energy storage. The company is active across electricity generation, transmission, and distribution, with other divisions such as gas storage, smart grids/demand response, battery storage, microgrids, gas extraction, and production. The company's five-year growth capital plan called for a $17bn investment in zero-carbon generation and energy storage. Recently, three independent battery systems totalling 12 MW were installed at the Scott Solar facility in Powhatan County. The company also recently proposed 10 solar and energy storage projects, totalling nearly 500 MW, that will be owned and operated by Dominion Energy Virginia.

In terms of application diversity, Lockheed Martin , Sony Group , and Toyota Motor are some of the leading patent filers in adaptive energy storage. Based on geographic reach, ABB , LG and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories are some of the leading patent filers in adaptive energy storage.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.