Assessing Innovation in Renewable Energy Technologies Through Patent Analytics

L. Vemula, B. Uppala, A.K. Kacham, U. Turaga
Scitech Patent Art Services Inc., US

Keywords: Innovation, IP, Energy


Conventional patent landscaping studies comprise of activities such as patent search, screening of patent records, statistical analysis of bibliographic data and manual/ tool based analysis of technological data. Patent quality indicators such as originality, generality, technology cycle time, and citation velocity that are available in literature can be applied to patent landscaping studies for providing more insightful information. ''Patent trend change mining'' (PTCM) approach, described by Duen-Ren Liu et al., uses the patent indicators in the association rule mining technique to study the changes in patent trends. This paper applies the technique discussed by Duen-Ren Liu et al. to understand renewable energy technologies, in particular wind and geothermal energy for identifying changes in technology trends. The paper also identifies key technologies and assesses company portfolios in wind and geothermal energy through various analytics using a number of patent indicators. Patent searches were conducted for the period 2006 through 2011. A combination of keywords along with relevant International Patent Classification (IPC) codes related to wind and geothermal energy were used for the search. Originality and generality calculated for the major IPC classes in wind energy indicated that the innovation value and economic value are higher for the patents filed under “arrangements for electric generators” and “circuit arrangements for batteries”. Patents under “arrangements for electric generators” indicate rapid technology progress as seen from the high citation velocity and short technology cycle time. The study has identified several companies as the key patent filers in the global wind power technology. A large number of patents have been filed in China, Europe, United States, Australia and Japan. In geothermal energy, patent indicators have been calculated separately for all the segments across the value chain such as exploration, drilling, well completion, stimulation and power generation. Major patent filers were identified as were areas with significant filings in each of the value chain segments, e.g., seismic prospecting, drill bits with button-type inserts/ polycrystalline inserts/ diamond inserts, stimulating compositions, cementing compositions, plants operating in closed cycles with special vapor. In conclusion, the PTCM approach can help identify recent technologies of high potential in wind energy and geothermal which may be considered for investments. The data from this approach can also help companies plan their long-term technology and business strategy.