The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the rising demand for low-carbon power generation and increased efficiency, and the growing importance of technologies such as energy storage. In the last three years alone, there have been over 656,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in power: CAES gas turbines. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

40+ innovations will shape the power industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 70,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, variable speed gas turbines is disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Perovskite photoactive layering, power distribution control system, and CAES gas turbine are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are geothermal heat pumps and prepaid electricity metering, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the power industry

CAES gas turbines is a key innovation area in power

Compressed air energy storage (CAES) is a technology of storing electrical energy generated during periods of surplus supply and making it accessible again during times of high demand. Electrical energy is utilised in a CAES system to compress air, which is then stored in an underground reservoir and back produced using energy recovered in a gas turbine.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of CAES gas turbines.

Key players in CAES gas turbines – a disruptive innovation in the power industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to CAES gas turbines

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Kobe Steel 178 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 148 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 79 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 48 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 42 Unlock Company Profile
8 Rivers Capital 36 Unlock Company Profile
Hydrostor 28 Unlock Company Profile
Alstom 28 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 22 Unlock Company Profile
Rolls-Royce 16 Unlock Company Profile
Augwind Energy Tech Storage 13 Unlock Company Profile
Storelectric 13 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 12 Unlock Company Profile
Membrane Technology and Research 9 Unlock Company Profile
Powerphase 8 Unlock Company Profile
ZEG Power 7 Unlock Company Profile
Ansaldo Energia 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sargas 7 Unlock Company Profile
LightSail Energy 7 Unlock Company Profile
Gandini 6 Unlock Company Profile
RWE 5 Unlock Company Profile
Isentropic 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ansaldo Energia 4 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 4 Unlock Company Profile
Ormat Technologies 4 Unlock Company Profile
Spirax-Sarco Engineering 3 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 2 Unlock Company Profile
Fives 2 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi 2 Unlock Company Profile
Stellantis 2 Unlock Company Profile
PACIFIC WASTE 2 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 2 Unlock Company Profile
Cal Poly 2 Unlock Company Profile
Li Hongtao 2 Unlock Company Profile
Air Products and Chemicals 1 Unlock Company Profile
Air Liquide 1 Unlock Company Profile
CO2 Capsol 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Kobe Steel, General Electric, Siemens, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are among the leading patent filers in CAES gas turbines. Siemens, a world leader in power generation, with a broad portfolio and global installed base of thousands of utility- and industrial-grade gas turbines and compressors, is at the forefront of CAES technology. Back in 1991, a McIntosh 110 MW CAES plant in Alabama, was built with Siemens Energy technology. Siemens signed an agreement to collaborate with Corre Energy, a European company focused on long-duration energy storage based on compressed air technology.

In terms of application diversity, Sargas AS, CO2 Capsol , Augwind Energy Tech, Air Liquide and Spirax-Sarco are some of the leading players in CAES gas turbines. By geographic reach, 8 Rivers Capital leads the pack, followed by Exxon Mobil and Augwind Energy Tech Storage.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.