The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the rising demand for low-carbon power generation and increased efficiency, and the growing importance of technologies such as energy storage. In the last three years alone, there have been over 656,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in power: CAES gas turbines. Buy the report here.
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 stabilizing 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.
40+ 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 70,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, variable speed gas turbines is disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Perovskite photoactive layering, power distribution control system, and CAES gas turbine are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are geothermal heat pumps and prepaid electricity metering, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the power industry
CAES gas turbines is a key innovation area in power
Compressed air energy storage (CAES) is a technology of storing electrical energy generated during periods of surplus supply and making it accessible again during times of high demand. Electrical energy is utilised in a CAES system to compress air, which is then stored in an underground reservoir and back produced using energy recovered in a gas turbine.
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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of CAES gas turbines.
Key players in CAES gas turbines – a disruptive innovation in the power industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to CAES gas turbines
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Kobe Steel Ltd||178||Unlock Company Profile|
|Exxon Mobil Corp||148||Unlock Company Profile|
|General Electric Co||79||Unlock Company Profile|
|IFP Energies nouvelles||48||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd||42||Unlock Company Profile|
|8 Rivers Capital LLC||36||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hydrostor Inc||28||Unlock Company Profile|
|Alstom SA||28||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens AG||22||Unlock Company Profile|
|Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc||16||Unlock Company Profile|
|Augwind Energy Tech Storage Ltd||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Storelectric Ltd||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Caterpillar Inc||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Membrane Technology and Research Inc||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Powerphase LLC||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|ZEG Power AS||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ansaldo Energia SpA||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sargas AS||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|LightSail Energy, Inc.||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Gandini Holding SpA||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|RWE AG||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Isentropic Ltd||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ansaldo Energia Holding Italia SRL||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Raytheon Technologies Corp||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ormat Technologies Inc||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Spirax-Sarco Engineering Plc||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Linde plc||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Fives||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mitsubishi Corp||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Stellantis NV||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|PACIFIC WASTE, INC.||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Safran SA||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Cal Poly Corporation||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Li Hongtao||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Air Products and Chemicals Inc||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Air Liquide SA||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|CO2 Capsol AS||1||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Kobe Steel, General Electric, Siemens, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are among the leading patent filers in CAES gas turbines. Siemens, a world leader in power generation, with a broad portfolio and global installed base of thousands of utility- and industrial-grade gas turbines and compressors, is at the forefront of CAES technology. Back in 1991, a McIntosh 110 MW CAES plant in Alabama, was built with Siemens Energy technology. Siemens signed an agreement to collaborate with Corre Energy, a European company focused on long-duration energy storage based on compressed air technology.
In terms of application diversity, Sargas AS, CO2 Capsol , Augwind Energy Tech, Air Liquide and Spirax-Sarco are some of the leading players in CAES gas turbines. By geographic reach, 8 Rivers Capital leads the pack, followed by Exxon Mobil and Augwind Energy Tech Storage.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.