DSIP Services Blog

Green Energy Future in Patent Perspective

Published on September 3, 20215 min read4 comments

Clean technologies will inevitably be in demand. Countries that suitably upskill and build industries to manufacture it will benefit greatly. They can obtain access to worldwide markets and build profit from the export of clean technologies.

Over the last ten years, there has been enormous investment in renewable energy, as well as substantial technological improvement. The development of solar cells and wind turbines sprinkled throughout the landscape is proof of this. But it can also be measured by looking at trends in the number of published patent applications.

Pollution is no longer just an annoying by-product that causes environmental damage; it is also a fundamental challenge to India's growth and development. It will have a significant economic impact if it is not treated seriously and contained.

China has already established itself as the world's leading exporter of low-cost solar cells, Europe is pioneering wind energy, and Japan and the United States are granting patents in the field of electric vehicles. Countries that concentrate their efforts on fossil fuels will lose market share in the international marketplace. Patents are commonly used as a gauge of how much innovation is occurring, where it is occurring, and in which sectors. Taking a closer look at the data might thus reveal a variety of insights on the sector's innovation.

Statics of Patent/Publication in Green enrgy

To put these figures in context, WIPO published 237,378 PCT applications across all technologies in 2018 pdf, implying that the fraction of patents for renewables was little over 1%. This is insignificant when compared to fields like computer technology, digital communication, medical technology, and pharmaceuticals, which each account for at least 6% of global applications.

Examining patent families is another technique to track trends. A patent family is made up of all national/regional patents that have the same priority date; in other words, it allows you to track both the number of innovations and the number of markets where they are filed. Using this metric, the total number of patent applications linked to renewables climbed from 10,463 in 2002 to 27,089 in 2011, based on the filing year of the first listed application. The number was 24,027 in 2017 (the most recent year for which data is available).

The number of published PCT applications linked to solar power has surged by 678 percent in the last 17 years. Since 2009, solar has been the most popular technology. In 2012, it reached a high of 2,691 foreign patent applications. This investment in innovation reflects the global expansion of solar power generation: according to the Global Trends report, there was only 25 Gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity at the end of 2009. Between 2010 and 2019, 638 GW of extra capacity became available. On 50,000 acres of land in Karnataka, India is constructing one of the world's largest green energy projects, which will generate 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power and 3,000 MW from wind farms.

Although the overall trend is one of growth, the number of published international patent applications for wind energy has fluctuated significantly. In 2019, they accounted for 28% of all renewable energy publications. International patent applications for geothermal energy, on the other hand, accounted for only 1.4 percent of those published in the sector.

When it comes to patent families, China is unquestionably the best. For example, counting whole patent families from 2013 to 2017, China has more than 45,000 patents, more than twice the amount of patents from Japan, which was ranked second with more than 21,000. Solar technology is driving the surge, with Chinese applicants holding three times the amount of patents as Japanese applicants.

Recent Technological improvement

There have been some major technological developments in renewable energy recently as well. According to an IEEE report, liquid air could be used to store renewable energy and reduce food industry emissions. According to a 2018 research by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), renewable energy will need to supply between 70 and 85 percent of electricity by 2050 to fulfil the 1.5┬░C target.

A group of European researchers and entrepreneurs is working on a cryogenic energy storage device that might help cut carbon emissions from the food industry while also providing a handy way to store wind and solar energy.

According to a claim by experts, a novel thermoelectric gadget can generate electricity for an LED light bulb even on the darkest night.

This conclusion is supported by patent data, which indicates that innovation in the renewables sector exploded in the decade leading up to 2012, notably in solar technology. We'll see how that idea helps to combat global warming in practise over the following few years.

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