The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing adoption of renewable energy, increasing retail tariffs and decline in incentives, and increasing government support, as well as growing importance of technologies such as pumped hydroelectricity, electrochemical, and hydrogen electrolysis. 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: renewable energy storage. 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
Renewable energy storage is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Energy storage is one such mechanism of improving flexibility and maximizing the efficiency of the power grid. Renewable energy storage refers to the storage of electricity generated through renewable energy sources. The application of renewable energy storage is to provide services such as frequency regulation, load shifting, black start and ramping up. These storage systems play a crucial role in addressing the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources and ensuring a stable and reliable energy supply.
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 120+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of renewable energy storage.
Key players in renewable energy storage – 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 renewable energy storage
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Kobe Steel Ltd||91||Unlock Company Profile|
|Toshiba Corp||50||Unlock Company Profile|
|LightSail Energy, Inc.||48||Unlock Company Profile|
|State Grid Corporation of China||39||Unlock Company Profile|
|Wobben Properties Gmbh||25||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sunverge Energy Inc||21||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hitachi Ltd||20||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens AG||20||Unlock Company Profile|
|Johnson Controls International Plc||20||Unlock Company Profile|
|Next Hydrogen Corp||19||Unlock Company Profile|
|Airbus SE||15||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ingeteam Corporacion SA||15||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Southern Power Grid Co Ltd||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Asahi Kasei Corp||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sungrow Power Supply Co Ltd||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Augwind Energy Tech Storage Ltd||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|PowiDian||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Panasonic Holdings Corp||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Basic Holdings||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|ThyssenKrupp AG||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|BASF SE||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Rondo Energy, Inc.||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Oracle Corp||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Acciona SA||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Storelectric Ltd||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Land Business Co., Ltd.||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Denso Corp||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Schlumberger Ltd||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Energy Engineering Group Co Ltd||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Huaneng Group Technology Innovation Center Co Ltd||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|RWE AG||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|AMETEK Inc||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Energy Investment Corp Ltd||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|The Swatch Group Ltd||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Albion Acquisitions Limited||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shell plc||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hebei Construction Investment New Energy Co., Ltd.||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ford Motor Co||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|EnBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg AG||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mitsubishi Corp||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Burelle SA||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hydrostor Inc||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|State Grid Information and Telecommunication Co Ltd||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|National Energy Investment Group Co Ltd||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Cheesecake Energy Ltd.||3||Unlock Company Profile|
|Spirax-Sarco Engineering Plc||3||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
In terms of application diversity, LightSail Energy leads the pack, while Haseltine Lake and Augwind Energy Tech Storage stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, LightSail Energy held the top position, followed by Wobben Properties, and Sunverge Energy. 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.