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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. 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 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 - 2022) 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.

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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.