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.
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?
The solar energy industry has seen an extremely rapid development in the past decade. In 2019 alone, we saw over 140 GW of new photovoltaic (PV) power generation capacity installed, leading to the total global PV power generation capacity of 583.5 GW (580.1 GW on-grid and 3.4 GW of off-grid ) at the end of 2019. This means more than one fifth of renewable energy in the world today is generated by PV technology.However, whilst it is only in recent years that we have witnessed a dramatic improvement of the technical and economic feasibilities of PV power generation, it should be remembered that such improvement is an achievement enabled by nearly two centuries of technical and commercial development.
Today, the Prime Minister has set out the government’s “ambitious” ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, with those ten points being “built around the UK’s strengths”. 1.Offshore wind: Producing enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much we produce to 40GW by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs.2.Hydrogen: Working with industry aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, and aiming to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade.
On July 20th, 2020, Innovate UK opened a first phase of the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF), designed to help businesses with high energy use to cut their energy bills and carbon emissions through investing in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies. The IETF is managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is a joint sponsor. This first phase consists of a funding competition offering a total share of up to £30 million, divided into two competition strands and open to any business registered, and planning to carry out the project work, in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The project submission deadline for both strands is on October 28th, 2020. A second phase will launch in 2021 with up to £269 million of funding.
The Automotive Transformation Fund – a new funding competition to move the automotive sector to zero emissions
Innovate UK – together with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for International Trade (DIT) – have opened a new funding competition: The Automotive Transformation Fund. This funding competition can be seen as part of the UK government’s broader Road to Zero Strategy which seeks to reduce vehicle emissions to zero by 2050, and, perhaps more ambitiously, aims for at least half of new cars to be “ultra-low emission” by 2030.