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: renewable energy
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?
Your engineers have been working on an exciting innovation. Their ideas have been developed in secret, and now they are ready for testing, which presents the issue of how to keep these new ideas secret. In the renewable energy sector, machines can be BIG. Consider GE’s Haliade X. This offshore wind turbine is 260 metres tall, and its rotor alone measures 220 metres. How do you test something like this in private?
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.
26 April 2020 is World Intellectual Property Day. World Intellectual Property Day is an event established by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) to inspire the public to “learn about the role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity”. Each annual event has a theme and this year’s theme, focussing on climate change, is “Innovate for a Green Future”.
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”.