The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for highly efficient renewable energy technology and environmentally clean and cost-effective systems for heating and cooling, with the growing importance of technologies such as enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), dry steam, flash steam, and binary cycle. 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: geothermal collectors. 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 turbines 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
Geothermal collectors is a key innovation area in power
A geothermal collector system is a ground heat exchanger connected to a heat pump. They are shallow geothermal energy systems built near the surface that extract thermal energy from the ground for buildings at a depth of one to two meters.
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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of geothermal collectors.
Key players in geothermal collectors – 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 geothermal collectors
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Eavor Technologies is the leading patent filer in geothermal collectors. Eavor’s solution (Eavor-Loop™) represents the world’s first truly scalable form of clean, baseload and dispatchable power.
In terms of application diversity, Vinci filed the highest number of patents. Halliburton’s portfolio of geothermal products and services range from the highest temperature directional drilling tools and production logs to high temperature, non-Portland cement systems.
Other leading patent filers include Baker Hughes, Uni-President Enterprises, and Heat Mining Company.