The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by increasing global power demand, renewable energy auctions, and the growing importance of technologies such as offshore wind turbines, floating platforms, and interconnectors. 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 Environmental sustainability in power: offshore wind farms. 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, solar-powered charging stations, wind turbine performance monitoring, and renewable energy storage are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Foldable solar panels, solar thermal collectors, and geothermal collectors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wave energy converters and solar cell protective films, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the power industry
Offshore wind farms is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Wind power results from the conversion of wind flow into a useful form of energy through turbines, water pumping, and windmills, which transform mechanical energy. It is classified into onshore and offshore. Offshore wind power is generated through wind turbines erected in the water body, usually at sea or ocean on a foundation/platform and supplied into the electricity network onshore.
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 130+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of offshore wind farms.
Key players in offshore wind farms – 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 offshore wind farms
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd||70||Unlock Company Profile|
|Equinor ASA||42||Unlock Company Profile|
|General Electric Co||34||Unlock Company Profile|
|Single Buoy Moorings||33||Unlock Company Profile|
|Marine Power Systems Ltd||30||Unlock Company Profile|
|Modec Limited||29||Unlock Company Profile|
|IFP Energies nouvelles||26||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hitachi Ltd||24||Unlock Company Profile|
|Makani Technologies LLC||23||Unlock Company Profile|
|Vestas Wind Systems AS||23||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens AG||20||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd||20||Unlock Company Profile|
|GWave LLC||19||Unlock Company Profile|
|RWE AG||18||Unlock Company Profile|
|Minesto AB||17||Unlock Company Profile|
|Novige AB||17||Unlock Company Profile|
|Toda Corp||15||Unlock Company Profile|
|Envision Energy (Denmark) Aps||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Orbital Marine Power Ltd||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ocean Power Technologies Inc||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Exponential Renewables S.L.||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co Ltd||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Occidental Petroleum Corp||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Havkraft AS||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Subsea 7 SA||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Iberdrola SA||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Japan Marine United Corp||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Aerodyn Engineering Gmbh||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|TechnipFMC Plc||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Single Buoy Moorings INC||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|X Development LLC||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|Big Moon Power LLC||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shanghai Electric Group Corp||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|SBM Offshore NV||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|BW Offshore Ltd||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Esteyco SAP||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|NOV Inc||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Floating Windfarms Corporation||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|TotalEnergies SE||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hydra Tidal Energy Technology AS||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sustainable Marine Energy Ltd||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Axis Energy Projects Ltd||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Triton Systems, Inc.||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|First Tech, Ltd.||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hexicon AB||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Wello Oy||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|The Boeing Co||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Naval Group||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Norsk Hydro ASA||6||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is one of the leading patent filers in offshore wind farms. MHI provides social infrastructure solutions in the fields of energy, including thermal, nuclear, renewable energy and the environment, including chemical plants. In June 2023, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Vestas Wind Systemsand MHI provided bottom-fixed turbines for Marubeni’s 84MW Noshiro Port and 55MW Akita Port offshore wind farms. Some other key patent filers in the offshore wind farms space include Equinor, General Electric, and Single Buoy Moorings.
In terms of application diversity, Havkraft leads the pack, while Sustainable Marine Energy and Oceana Energy stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, GWave held the top position, followed by Minesto and Novige.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in Power.