The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to shift dependency from fossil fuel to renewable sources of energy and meet carbon neutrality targets, and growing importance of technologies such as wave energy and offshore wind energy. 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 Environmental sustainability in power: wave energy 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, solar-powered charging stations, wind turbine performance monitoring, and renewable energy storage are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Foldable solar panels, solar thermal collectors, and geothermal collectors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wave energy converters and solar cell protective films, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the power industry

Wave energy converters is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Wave power is a key renewable energy source and is harnessed from the motion of a wave. The kinetic and potential energy of a moving ocean wave is converted to electricity using wave energy converters (WECs).

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of wave energy converters.

Key players in wave energy 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 wave energy converters

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
MURTECH 48 Unlock Company Profile
Ocean Power Technologies 45 Unlock Company Profile
Marine Power Systems 23 Unlock Company Profile
Oscilla Power 15 Unlock Company Profile
Ocean Harvesting Technologies 14 Unlock Company Profile
Gravity Power 14 Unlock Company Profile
Subsea 7 13 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 11 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electric Power 8 Unlock Company Profile
Dehlsen Associates 8 Unlock Company Profile
Israel Aerospace Industries 7 Unlock Company Profile
Quidnet Energy 6 Unlock Company Profile
Leidos 5 Unlock Company Profile
Wavebob 5 Unlock Company Profile
Offcon 4 Unlock Company Profile
JMV 4 Unlock Company Profile
Hexagon 3 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 3 Unlock Company Profile
Dehlsen Associates 2 Unlock Company Profile
Mactaggart, Scott & Company 2 Unlock Company Profile
US Department of Energy 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ellomay Capital 2 Unlock Company Profile
Alcon 2 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 2 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 1 Unlock Company Profile
Iberdrola 1 Unlock Company Profile
Kilburn & Strode 1 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Defence 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Murtech and Ocean Power Technologies are among the leading patent filers in wave energy converters. Ocean Power Technologies was awarded a contract with Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate on maritime domain awareness – sensors (MDA-S) Initiative. The company was selected for the Phase II development of a next-generation wave energy converter by the U.S. Department of Energy. It partnered with Eco Wave Power Global and announced they are working to utilize their complementary technologies and skills to accelerate wave energy projects as an implementation of an agreement previously signed.

Other key patent filers in the wave energy converter industry include Marine Power Systems, Oscilla Power and Gravity Power.

The high cost incurred in installing a wave energy converter is the major setback for the technology and its large-scale application. This can be moderated by integrating WEC with offshore structures. Integrating wind energy and wave energy production can be another viable solution to this problem.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in 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.