The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by environmental protection, impact of greenhouse gas, and zero carbon emission initiatives, and growing importance of technologies such as solar-assisted membrane for purification, and cloud and IoT based smart architecture for desalination water treatment. 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: Sea water solar treatment. 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

Sea water solar treatment is a key innovation area in power

Sea water solar treatment technology involves removal of salt from water through a specially designed solar still utilising solar energy to heat seawater and convert it into freshwater driving the desalination 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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of sea water solar treatment.

Key players in sea water solar treatment – 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 sea water solar treatment

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
MURTECH 29 Unlock Company Profile
IDE Technologies 24 Unlock Company Profile
Surrey Aquatechnology 24 Unlock Company Profile
Transocean 23 Unlock Company Profile
First Green Park 15 Unlock Company Profile
Saltworks Technologies 11 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 10 Unlock Company Profile
Ebara 10 Unlock Company Profile
Oceanus Power and Water 9 Unlock Company Profile
Xerox Holdings 9 Unlock Company Profile
Oneka Technologies 9 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 9 Unlock Company Profile
Sunlight Photonics 8 Unlock Company Profile
Xi'An Xire Energy Saving Technology 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sylvan Source 7 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 6 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 5 Unlock Company Profile
Inframark 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Siemens is a leading patent filter. Its water processing unit is based on a Simatic PCS process control system that delivers superior plant availability and efficiency. The Al Khafji solar saline reverse osmosis desalination in Saudi Arabia employs the Simatic PCS 7 that enables a variable-speed drive to power the high-pressure pump and automatically adjust according to water temperature and salinity. The plant consists of a two-stage reverse osmosis process and derives its energy from a nearby solar power installation.

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.