The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for highly efficient renewable energy technology and environmentally clean and cost-effective systems for heating and cooling, with the growing importance of technologies such as enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), dry steam, flash steam, and binary cycle. 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: geothermal collectors. 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 turbines 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

Geothermal collectors is a key innovation area in power

A geothermal collector system is a ground heat exchanger connected to a heat pump. They are shallow geothermal energy systems built near the surface that extract thermal energy from the ground for buildings at a depth of one to two meters.

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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of geothermal collectors.

Key players in geothermal collectors – 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 geothermal collectors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Eavor Technologies 66 Unlock Company Profile
Halliburton 36 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 20 Unlock Company Profile
XGS Energy 19 Unlock Company Profile
Welltec 18 Unlock Company Profile
The Kansai Electric Power 18 Unlock Company Profile
Vinci 13 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 13 Unlock Company Profile
REHAU Automotive 11 Unlock Company Profile
HyperSciences 9 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 9 Unlock Company Profile
Geosource Energy 9 Unlock Company Profile
Greenfield Energy 9 Unlock Company Profile
Obayashi 8 Unlock Company Profile
POSCO 8 Unlock Company Profile
Fuji Electric 7 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 7 Unlock Company Profile
Intertechnique 7 Unlock Company Profile
Government of Canada 6 Unlock Company Profile
Jansen 6 Unlock Company Profile
Earth To Air Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium 6 Unlock Company Profile
Quantitative Heat 6 Unlock Company Profile
DL 5 Unlock Company Profile
Heat Mining Company 5 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President 5 Unlock Company Profile
Nat Univ Pusan Ind Univ Coop Found 4 Unlock Company Profile
Cubic 4 Unlock Company Profile
EnBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg 4 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Kasei 4 Unlock Company Profile
Gtherm 4 Unlock Company Profile
Friedr Ischebeck 4 Unlock Company Profile
Element Technical Services 3 Unlock Company Profile
Schwenk Zement 3 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electric Power 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hubble 3 Unlock Company Profile
Air Liquide 3 Unlock Company Profile
Ryb 3 Unlock Company Profile
AECOM 3 Unlock Company Profile
Trevi Finanziaria Industriale 2 Unlock Company Profile
US Department of Energy 2 Unlock Company Profile
Boyd 2 Unlock Company Profile
Helmerich & Payne 2 Unlock Company Profile
Kajima 2 Unlock Company Profile
GE Energy Connections 2 Unlock Company Profile
Takenaka 2 Unlock Company Profile
Mitani Sekisan 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ecolab 2 Unlock Company Profile
Chevron U. S. A 2 Unlock Company Profile
Kolon Global 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Eavor Technologies is the leading patent filer in geothermal collectors. Eavor’s solution (Eavor-Loop™) represents the world’s first truly scalable form of clean, baseload and dispatchable power.

In terms of application diversity, Vinci filed the highest number of patents. Halliburton’s portfolio of geothermal products and services range from the highest temperature directional drilling tools and production logs to high temperature, non-Portland cement systems.

Other leading patent filers include Baker Hughes, Uni-President Enterprises, and Heat Mining Company.

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.