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: climate change
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.
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?
2020 has been a challenging year to say the least. However, while the world has experienced events such as threats of war, bush fires and a global pandemic among many others, Great Britain quietly passed a significant milestone last month. On 16th June 2020, Great Britain went more than two whole months without coal power with a total of 67-days, 22-hours and 55-minutes coal-free.
In a concerted effort to tackle climate change, countries around the world have proposed to ban conventional petrol and diesel cars within the next few decades, paving the way for an electric vehicle revolution. In our previous blog, The Future Of Automotive Powertrains, we found that in the realm of patents, car manufacturers favour batteries (and lots of them) to power their electric vehicles. In this blog we look at the capabilities and shortcomings of batteries and how fuel cell technology may yet play a part in powering our transport networks.
As countries around the world strive to curb climate change, it becomes increasingly clear that radical innovative energy solutions are needed if we are to stand any chance of achieving net zero emissions. A team of engineers at the University of Queensland may have provided one such solution in the field of quantum dot solar cell technology, achieving a near 25% improvement, and a world record, for the conversion of solar energy into electricity using quantum dots. Inventor, and Australian Research Council laureate, Lianzhou Wang, explains that the improvement “is effectively the difference between quantum dot solar cell technology being an exciting prospect and being commercially viable”.
Last month global leaders of politics, industry, and economics gathered for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. The event brought 3,000 stakeholders from around the world to the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Davos to discuss sustainability and the climate crisis. As always, the town was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. But this may not be the case for much longer. The climate crisis discussed in Davos is wreaking slow havoc in mountain resorts around the world. The Alpine setting for the conference about climate change couldn’t have been more apposite. Rising global temperatures has shortened the average ski season by 38 days since 1960.