The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by development of energy efficient products and minimising the sector’s carbon footprint and growing importance of technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, sodium-ion batteries, and liquid metal batteries. 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 Artificial Intelligence in Power: Smart Batteries.

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, power distribution system modelling, electricity supply distribution models, and AI-assisted power fault monitoring are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart batteries, renewable energy integrated microgrids, and smart lighting systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are prepaid electricity metering and home automation networks, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the power industry

Smart batteries is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Smart batteries are designed to constantly track their own capacity whether they are being charged, discharged or stored. A smart battery pack consists of built-in electronics system with information about its power status to conserve power intelligently.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart batteries.

Key players in smart batteries – 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’.

Sumitomo Electric Industries ’ products includes redox flow batteries that are charged and discharged by means of the oxidation-reduction reaction of ions of vanadium. They deliver a long service life with almost no degradation of electrodes and electrolytes, high safety due to being free of combustible materials, and availability of operation under normal temperatures. Redox flow batteries are ideal for use in power grid systems.

General Electric offers the FLEXRESERVOIR solution, a utility-scale energy storage solution, that utilises batteries to inject a large amount of power into the grid over a short period of time in an energy configuration. Meanwhile, MHI Group contributes to a low carbon environment by developing and delivering proprietary solutions and products. The company’s lithium-ion battery technology, such as the grid energy storage system is an important element driving the use of renewable energy.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on AI in 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.