The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by wind turbine blade expansion to generate more power from onshore and offshore wind power plants, high strength, and low weight, and growing importance of technologies such as wind turbines, offshore wind, and onshore wind. 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: Fiber-reinforced composite turbine blades.

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 and 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

Fibre-reinforced composite turbine blades is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Wind turbine blades made of fiber-reinforced composites are frequently used in the production of large-scale wind turbines.

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 fibre-reinforced composite turbine blades.

Key players in fibre-reinforced composite turbine blades – 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’.

Vestas Wind Systems is the leading patent filers in fibre-reinforced composite turbine blades. Vestas is a renewable energy company. It designs, manufactures, installs, and provides services to onshore and offshore power converters, wind turbines, blades, and towers. The company’s solutions encompass parts and repair to preventive inspections and advanced repairs. The service offerings of Vestas include data-driven consultancy, fleet optimisation, blade maintenance and inspection, power generator repairs, and gearbox exchange. It partners with customers to monitor wind energy production and performance of the wind power plant throughout its lifetime.

In terms of application diversity, Vestas Wind Systems leads the pack. Siemens and Senvion stood in the second and third positions, respectively.

By means of geographic reach, General Electric , Mitsubishi Heavy Industries , LM WP, and Xiangtan Electric Manufacturing are some of the leading patent filers in fibre-reinforced composite turbine blades.

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.