The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by stringent regulations on emissions and rising consumer awareness of eco-friendly techniques, and the need to integrate more distributed energy resources, and growing importance of technologies such as machine learning and predictive controls. 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 onInnovation in power: multi-port power converters. 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 a 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

Multi-port power converters is a key innovation area in power

The main goal of a multi-port power converter is to connect various power sources with inputs and outputs through a single power converter to allow power flow between each port. Multi-port power converters are intended to eliminate redundant and superfluous power conversion stages as well as excess semiconductor switching devices that are commonly seen in traditional topologies. These devices are designed to provide high efficiency power conversion, while maximizing heat dissipation performance.

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of multi-port power converters.

Key players in multi-port power converters – 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 multi-port power converters

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hitachi Ltd 99 Unlock Company Profile
Eaton Corporation Plc 48 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric Corp 34 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba Corp 30 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Co 27 Unlock Company Profile
Chongqing Jinkang New Energy Vehicle Co Ltd 24 Unlock Company Profile
NOV Inc 24 Unlock Company Profile
Kia Corp 23 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor Co 21 Unlock Company Profile
Denso Corp 21 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor Corp 20 Unlock Company Profile
Delta Electronics Inc 19 Unlock Company Profile
ROHM Co Ltd 17 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung Co 15 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo SA 14 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor Co Ltd 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd 9 Unlock Company Profile
Fuji Electric Co Ltd 8 Unlock Company Profile
Marelli Holdings Co Ltd 5 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic Holdings Corp 4 Unlock Company Profile
HL Mando Corp 4 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec Corp 4 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG 4 Unlock Company Profile
AC Propulsion, Inc. 4 Unlock Company Profile
Lear Corp 4 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu Ltd 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd 3 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Deren Electronic Co Ltd 3 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd 3 Unlock Company Profile
LG Corp 2 Unlock Company Profile
China FAW Group Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
Penny & Giles Controls Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
XL Hybrids Inc. 2 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil Holding SE 2 Unlock Company Profile
Fermata LLC 2 Unlock Company Profile
Delta Electronic Enterprise Management Shanghai Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar Inc 2 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shanxi Tiandi Coal Mining Machinery Co Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
Dawonsys Co Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 1 Unlock Company Profile
Seres Group Co Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
Continental AG 1 Unlock Company Profile
Renault SA 1 Unlock Company Profile
Tian Di Science & Technology Co Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation 1 Unlock Company Profile
CRRC Corp Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hitachi is one of the leading patent filers in multi-port power converters. Hitachi is a multi-national conglomerate with presence in information technology, electronics, power systems, social infrastructure, industrial systems, and construction machinery. The company manufactures and sells information and telecom systems, power systems, social infrastructure and industrial systems, construction machinery, electronic systems and equipment, automotive systems, and smart life and eco-friendly systems. Some other key patent filers in the multi-port power converter space include Eaton, Mitsubishi Electric, and Toshiba.

In terms of application diversity, Fermata leads the pack, while Eaton and Toyota Motor stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Eaton held the top position, followed by Toshiba and Sumitomo Electric Industries.

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.