The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by growth in renewable energy and initiatives for zero carbon emissions, and growing importance of technologies such as battery energy storage systems (BESS), and electrolyser/fuel cell energy. 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: PV film manufacturing. 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

PV film manufacturing is a key innovation area in power

Photovoltaic (PV) film is manufactured by depositing a thin layer of semiconductor on a supporting material such as glass, stainless steel or polyimide through chemical vapour deposition process.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of PV film manufacturing.

Key players in PV film manufacturing – 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 PV film manufacturing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
LG 87 Unlock Company Profile
Eastman Chemical 78 Unlock Company Profile
Toray Industries 61 Unlock Company Profile
Covestro 46 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm Holdings 42 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 40 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin 35 Unlock Company Profile
3M 24 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsui Chemicals 19 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 19 Unlock Company Profile
Dow 18 Unlock Company Profile
AGC 18 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Chemical 17 Unlock Company Profile
Bridgestone 17 Unlock Company Profile
Lintec 15 Unlock Company Profile
Sekisui Chemical 10 Unlock Company Profile
Toyobo 10 Unlock Company Profile
Solvay 10 Unlock Company Profile
Daikin Industries 9 Unlock Company Profile
Arkema 9 Unlock Company Profile
Omya International 8 Unlock Company Profile
Dai Nippon Printing 8 Unlock Company Profile
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics 7 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai HIUV New Materials 6 Unlock Company Profile
Advansa 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
DuPont de Nemours 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

LG has filed the largest number of patents. The company’s solar arm LG Solar Business Solutions delivered solar panels products such as NeON® H series panels, NeON® 2 series panels and NeON® R series panels. Dow, an American chemical company, also filed the patents. The company offers ENGAGE™ PV Polyolefin Elastomers (POEs) product for PV encapsulant films that increases power generation, reliability and service life.

With regards to geographic reach of its patents, US-based 3M is a leading patent filer. The company provides 3M™ Solar Encapsulant Films, which are fast cure encapsulant, designed to work with PV modules. The films protect against UV damage and weathering and allows broad band light transmission to solar cells. In terms of application diversity, Japanese multinational corporation Toray Industries filed the maximum patents. The company provides slat9type solar module production system for solar cells. It also manufactures high barrier disposition equipment for thin film PV cells.

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.