The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is 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 656,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in power: fiber-reinforced turbine blades. Buy the report here.

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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

Fiber-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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of fiber-reinforced composite turbine blades.

Key players in fiber-reinforced composite turbine blades – 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 fiber-reinforced composite turbine blades

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
General Electric 500 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 263 Unlock Company Profile
Vestas Wind Systems 236 Unlock Company Profile
Wobben Properties 79 Unlock Company Profile
Senvion 33 Unlock Company Profile
TPI Composites 29 Unlock Company Profile
Aloys Wobben Foundation 21 Unlock Company Profile
Nordex 19 Unlock Company Profile
Xiangtan Electric Manufacturing 16 Unlock Company Profile
CRRC Group 16 Unlock Company Profile
Arkema 14 Unlock Company Profile
Hexcel 13 Unlock Company Profile
Gurit 13 Unlock Company Profile
Neptco 13 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 12 Unlock Company Profile
Covestro 11 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 11 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan 6 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt 5 Unlock Company Profile
Schaeffler 4 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Red Maple Wind Blade Mould 4 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 3 Unlock Company Profile
Windfin 3 Unlock Company Profile
Envision Energy (Denmark) Aps 2 Unlock Company Profile
Swancor 2 Unlock Company Profile
LM Wind Power (R&D) Holland 2 Unlock Company Profile
Darwind 2 Unlock Company Profile
Envision Energy 2 Unlock Company Profile
Hayden Paul 2 Unlock Company Profile
Carbon Rotec 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Electric Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Gamesa Innovation & Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
UT-Battelle 1 Unlock Company Profile
Gamesa 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Vestas Wind Systems is one of the leading patent filers in fiber-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 optimization, 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, Swancor Holding leads the pack. BASF and Safran stand in second and third positions, respectively.

By means of geographic reach, Aloys Wobben Foundation, Wobben Properties, Arkema, and Neptco are some of the leading patent filers in fiber-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.

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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.