Innovation in the European energy sector continues to progress as the number of patent applications increase by 5.5% last year, according to the data released by the European Patent Office (EPO).

The data indicated a growth in applications to 11,255 in 2019 compared to the previous year’s figure of 10,668.

Intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk partner Andy Docherty said: “Energy plays a key role in driving the global economy, and, as the ongoing instability in oil prices highlights, is a highly complicated and fluid sector, subject to all kinds of externalities.

“Innovation is key in this sector, therefore, in giving companies the edge and allowing them to tackle the many energy challenges we face – whether finding more efficient fossil fuel sources or developing exciting new technologies such as nuclear fusion.

“The reduction in the oil price will no doubt inspire further innovation in this sector, as the global economy slowly transitions out of lockdown over the coming months and demand for oil begins to increase.”

According to the report, Germany topped energy patents table of 2019, with Japan occupying the second position.

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By GlobalData

EPO noted that the UK was also one of the top ten in the table indicating that the scale of innovation in the energy sector, one of the key areas of the country’s growth.

The UK filed 303 European applications the electrical machinery, apparatus & energy fields in 2019, up 13% compared to 268 filed in the previous year.

On the other hand, the filings for engines pumps and turbines increased significantly with 325 patents filed in 2019 versus 241 in 2018.

Some of the major investments in the UK energy sector included the 3.6GW Dogger Bank in the UK North Sea, which is a joint venture (JV) between SSE Renewables and Norway’s Equinor.