Countries around the world are pledging to the goal of net-zero by mid-century. However, the energy transition needed to achieve this presents huge challenges. As the global energy sector moves to renewable energy sources, many of the technologies needed to replace fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions are not yet fully mature. A recent report from the EPO outlines why the net-zero goal cannot be achieved without further efforts in clean energy innovation.
Insights: Cleantech & Energy
Reddie & Grose LLP recently participated in London Climate Action Week, delivering a presentation entitled “Innovations for a Sustainable Lifestyle”. Rather than focussing on large-scale global or societal technological fixes, we very much wanted to highlight the changes that individuals could make in their own lives to be better ancestors to future generations. The presentation focussed on innovation in four areas of our everyday lives – food, fashion, home and plastics – and discussed ways in which innovation can help us reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the planet.
This article is the second in our renewable energy patent tracker series. The first, published early March 2021, compared patent trends for renewable energy generation technology from 2016 to 2020 with data from the first two months of this year. Using the Y02 classification scheme developed by the EPO for labelling climate change mitigation technologies, we compared the number of publications in different renewable energy fields (solar PV, solar thermal, wind, geothermal, hydro and from the sea) and ranked the biggest patent filers in these areas. In this instalment, we update our statistics for this year, incorporating data from up until the 19th May, and extend our trend analysis over the ten years leading up to 2021.
The first long-haul flight powered by biofuels took off on 18th May 2021. An Air France-KLM flight from Paris to Montreal used a mix of conventional jet fuel and a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from used cooking oils. Also, the UK Government has recently announced that it will mandate the introduction of E10 fuel (petrol containing up to 10% of sustainable bioethanol) from September this year
Net Zero by 2050 – A new IEA report highlighting a roadmap reliant on improvements in traditional, and development of disruptive, technologies
Last week, amid unseasonably windy and wet weather in the UK, National Grid reported a new record share of electricity demand being produced by wind turbines (62.5 %) throughout Great Britain. In a timely coincidence, in the same week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a fascinating report on how a net zero (emissions) energy system may be achieved globally by 2050.
Renewable energy is more affordable now than it has ever been. According to BloombergNEF, it is now cheaper to build a new solar or wind farm to meet rising electricity demand or replace a retiring generator, than it is to build a new fossil fuel-fired plant. Policy incentives, increased investment and technological advances are driving this strong growth in the renewables sector, leading to technological improvements in the structural hardware necessary for renewable energy generation, transmission and storage.
We reported last year on a new report from the European Patent Office (EPO) on electricity storage, in particular using batteries. Excluded from that report was hydrogen and its use in electricity storage, which is seen by some as a very useful supplement to batteries, not just in electricity storage but also for applications where batteries may not be appropriate, such as some transport applications.
As climate change and the energy transition drive fundamental shifts in technology, industry, investment and regulatory policy, innovation and technology have never played a more important role. In this article, we discuss how climate change and the energy transition are driving these shifts, the technologies needed to meet net-zero and how this is reflected by patent filings in renewable energy field. We gather the perspectives of leaders and decision makers in the fields of energy, technology, business and government, presenting at the recent CERAWeek 2021 conference.