The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by growing concerns regarding its environmental impact, as well as the need for greater efficiency and reduced operational and maintenance costs, with the growing importance of technologies such as onshore and offshore wind farms. 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: Integrated axis wind turbines.
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
Integrated axis wind turbines is a key innovation area in power
A wind turbine, commonly referred to as a wind generator, wind turbine generator, wind power unit, wind energy converter, or aero-generator, is a collection of operating systems, which converts the kinetic energy of wind into electricity. Wind turbines are categorised by axis type: horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) and vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT). In a HAWT, the rotating axis of the wind turbine is horizontal, or parallel to the ground. It is a conventional type of wind turbine with a horizontal axis consisting of the rotor, gearbox, and generator contained within a nacelle, which is installed on top of a tower. The rotor to which blades are attached converts the linear motion of the wind into rotational energy, which is used to drive a generator to produce electricity. In VAWTs, the rotational axis of the turbine stands vertical or perpendicular to the ground. These turbines can harness the wind blowing from all directions. These turbines are preferred on sites with turbulent winds where the wind direction is highly variable. In a VAWT, the generator and other major components can be placed near the ground. This helps avoid the need for a strong tower to support the major components and makes turbine maintenance easier.
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 integrated axis wind turbines.
Key players in integrated axis wind turbines – 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 integrated axis wind turbines
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Enel||45||Unlock company profile|
|Vestas Wind Systems||39||Unlock company profile|
|Siemens||36||Unlock company profile|
|Commercial Vehicle Group||18||Unlock company profile|
|Wobben Properties||17||Unlock company profile|
|nVent Electric||17||Unlock company profile|
|General Electric||14||Unlock company profile|
|Bladena||12||Unlock company profile|
|Beijing Hengju Chemical Group||11||Unlock company profile|
|Emerson Electric||7||Unlock company profile|
|Clean Green Energy||6||Unlock company profile|
|Hexcel||5||Unlock company profile|
|Nordex||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Enel is one of the top patent filers for integrated axis wind turbines in wind energy industry. Enel is also one of the top electricity producers through wind energy. It produces, transports and distributes electricity and sells and trades electric energy, green certificates, and CO2 emission rights. It also provides advanced energy services and operates in the electric mobility sector. The company has operational presence in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Leading companies include Vestas Wind Systems (Vestas), which designs, manufactures, installs, and provides services to onshore and offshore wind turbines, blades, and towers. The company’s solutions encompass parts and repair to preventive inspections and advanced repairs. The service offerings of Vestas include data-driven consultancy, fleet optimisation, blade maintenance and inspection, power generator repairs, and gearbox exchange.
Siemens, General Electric, and Nordex are amongst the other key patent filers.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.