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.
Insights: Eco & Sustainability
Transmitting solar energy generated in space back to Earth has long been the subject of science fiction, first appearing in Isaac Asimov’s 1941 short story, Reason, where solar energy is converted to microwaves by a space station, and beamed back to nearby planets.
£92 million allocated to funding energy storage, floating wind, and sustainable biomass production in the UK
This week, the UK government launched 3 new innovation challenges in the green energy sector, with £92 million allocated in funding. The initiative is part of the government’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio to drive forward the next generation of technologies which will help decarbonise the energy sector in the UK. It also forms part of the UK Governments 10 point plan, launched last year, to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.
On International Women’s Day, Georgina Ainscow, Olivia Buckingham and Xiaoxi Zhu attended Innovate UK and KTN’s Women Innovate event. The event was a fantastic celebration of women in innovation, but also carried a message of much more to be done to achieve true diversity and inclusivity. A clear message too, that this can only benefit the economy, with estimates ranging from £180 billion to £250 billion, that could be unlocked by boosting the level of female entrepreneurship.
Patents are, of necessity, filed at an early stage in the development of new technology, which means that patent filing trends can provide good insights today’s R&D and tomorrow’s leading technologies.Climate change targets are a major driver of innovation in today’s world. There is little doubt that innovative solutions are needed across the board if we are to achieve net-zero by 2050, and limit the rise in average global temperate to below 2C, as set out in the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement on climate change entered into force in November 2016, with a goal of limiting global warming to below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius – compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), CO2 emissions from aviation in 2019 equated to around 2.8% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. So, it’s probably no great surprise that there has been much research in recent years on ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation sector.
Last year construction started on a 250MWh liquid-air energy-storage system in Greater Manchester. Supported by a £10 million UK government grant, when completed the “CRYOBattery” will be the largest liquid-air energy-storage system in the world.
As awareness of the devastating consequences of climate change grows, technology that harnesses renewable energy has seen significant investment in recent years. Wind energy is no exception. With increased investment, there comes a need for protection by way of patents. Patents are typically filed at an early stage of development, due to the requirement for the technology they cover to be new and inventive. This in turn means that patent filing statistics can provide a good insight into where R&D is being carried out, and into potential future technologies. In this article we ask, what areas are the core technologies where patent filings are being made, where are these filings being made, and who is filing them?