The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by increasing global demand for power, the global shift towards renewable energy sources, increased preference for large-scale installations, increased renewable energy auctions and beneficial government policies, and growing importance of technologies such as offshore wind turbines, onshore wind turbines, and mono crystalline, poly crystalline, and thin-film technologies. 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: hybrid power plants. 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

Hybrid power plants is a key innovation area in power

A hybrid power plant generates electricity by combining two or more types of power generation sources. Solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind turbines, combined with a diesel generator as a backup, are the most common power generation sources for a hybrid power plant. Utilizing renewable energy generation technologies minimizes the need for imported fossil fuels, allowing for clean energy generation and the optimization of power supply options.

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 250+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of hybrid power plants.

Key players in hybrid power plants – 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 hybrid power plants

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
General Electric Co 106 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd 66 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric Co 47 Unlock Company Profile
IVAR S.p.A. 38 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Corp 31 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Co 24 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH 22 Unlock Company Profile
8 Rivers Capital LLC 21 Unlock Company Profile
Orcan Energy AG 19 Unlock Company Profile
PALMER LABS, LLC 19 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 19 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway Inc 17 Unlock Company Profile
Skanska AB 17 Unlock Company Profile
Moixa Energy Holdings Ltd 16 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 15 Unlock Company Profile
NTT Corporation 15 Unlock Company Profile
HD Hyundai Co Ltd 14 Unlock Company Profile
Searete LLC 14 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic Holdings Corp 13 Unlock Company Profile
WindStream Technologies, Inc. 13 Unlock Company Profile
Eaton Corporation Plc 12 Unlock Company Profile
Esdec BV 11 Unlock Company Profile
Durr AG 11 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sanden Corp 10 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor Corp 10 Unlock Company Profile
Manufacturing Resources International, Llc 10 Unlock Company Profile
GENTEX Corp 10 Unlock Company Profile
AMETEK Inc 10 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics Holding Co Ltd 9 Unlock Company Profile
China Huaneng Group Co Ltd 9 Unlock Company Profile
Fluor Corp 9 Unlock Company Profile
Kobe Steel Ltd 8 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba Corp 8 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electric Power Corp 8 Unlock Company Profile
SMA Solar Technology AG 8 Unlock Company Profile
Unitech Offshore AS 8 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan Corp 8 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing DeepScience Technology Ltd 8 Unlock Company Profile
E.ON SE 8 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki Corp 7 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung eV 7 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Hanergy Photovoltaic Investment Co Ltd 7 Unlock Company Profile
Wobben Properties Gmbh 7 Unlock Company Profile
ABB Ltd 7 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 7 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Development Bank 7 Unlock Company Profile
The Boeing Co 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bolymedia Holdings Co Ltd 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

General Electric (GE) is one of the leading patent filers in hybrid power plants. An industrial conglomerate, GE provides a range of industrial, infrastructure, and financial products and services. The company offers a wide range of products and services from aircraft engines and systems, healthcare systems and pharmaceutical diagnostics, power generation, and oil and gas production equipment to medical imaging, financing and industrial products. In June 2022, GE and Inogen were selected by Sertavul to build one of the first Hybrid Wind + Solar projects in Turkey. The plant is composed of a 32MW wind farm commissioned in 2020 that will be integrated with a 30MW solar plant. Some other key patent filers are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Emerson Electric, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai Motor.

In terms of application diversity, Tamiras Per leads the pack, while Ford Motor and Kadant stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Emerson Electric held the top position, followed by IVAR and 8 Rivers Capital.

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.