The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by a number of factors, including the need for higher efficiency, lower emissions, and improved reliability and growing importance of technologies such as evaporative cooling, passive cooling, and forced air cooling. In the last three years alone, there have been over 439,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Power: Gas turbine air cooling.
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 stabilising 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.
150+ 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 83,000 patents, there are 90+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, synchronous multi-phase motors, sea water solar treatment, and synchronous motor cooling systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Hermetic pumps, brushless synchronous motor, and HVAC pumps are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are perovskite photoactive layering and linear motor actuators, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the power industry
Gas turbine air cooling is a key innovation area in power
A gas turbine air cooling system cools the hot air that is generated by the turbine. The cooled air is then used to cool the engine, which in turn increases the efficiency of the 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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of gas turbine air cooling.
Key players in gas turbine air cooling – a disruptive innovation in the power industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to gas turbine air cooling
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Mitsubishi||150||Unlock company profile|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries||116||Unlock company profile|
|Rolls-Royce Holdings||90||Unlock company profile|
|CDP Equity||48||Unlock company profile|
|Raytheon Technologies||46||Unlock company profile|
|Exxon Mobil||24||Unlock company profile|
|Siemens||23||Unlock company profile|
|General Electric||20||Unlock company profile|
|Searete||17||Unlock company profile|
|Alstom||15||Unlock company profile|
|Siemens Energy||11||Unlock company profile|
|Kawasaki Heavy Industries||11||Unlock company profile|
|8 Rivers Capital||10||Unlock company profile|
|Hitachi||10||Unlock company profile|
|Fluor||9||Unlock company profile|
|Beijing DeepScience Technology||8||Unlock company profile|
|Boeing||7||Unlock company profile|
|Korea Electric Power||7||Unlock company profile|
|Dynamo Micropower||6||Unlock company profile|
|Deep Science||6||Unlock company profile|
|Doosan||5||Unlock company profile|
|Airbus||5||Unlock company profile|
|NiQuan Energy Trinidad||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Mitsubishi Power is one of the leading patent filers in gas turbine air cooling. Mitsubishi Power and China’s Sepco 3 have been awarded a full turnkey contract with Aluminium Bahrain (Alba). Mitsubishi Power will supply the combined cycle power unit, which comprises of M701JAC gas turbine, an air-cooled version of J-series gas turbines and a steam turbine.
In terms of application diversity, Raytheon Technologies leads, followed by General Electric and Hitachi in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Siemens, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Rolls-Royce are some of the leading patent filers in battery energy storage systems.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.