There is an innovation slump in the clean energy sector according to a joint study published by the European Patent Office and the International Energy Agency. The average annual growth rate of low-carbon energy patents in recent years is only a quarter of what it was a decade ago.
At the climate summit in Washington last week, many nations pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 to keep average global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. However, the report, Patents and the energy transition: global trends in clean energy technology innovation, found that around 35 percent of the cumulative CO2 emissions technologies needed to shift to a sustainable path to reach net-zero emissions are still currently at an early stage of development. According to EPO President António Campinos, “this report is a clear call for action to step up research and innovation into new low-carbon energy technologies, and improve existing ones.”
The report found that energy efficiency and fuel-switching technologies remained at the top of patent activities, accounting for about 60 percent of the total. Patent activity in renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar continues to decline and represented just 17 percent of the total in 2019.
The strongest growth since 2017 has occurred in cross-cutting technologies such as batteries, hydrogen and smart grids, along with carbon-capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). These enabling technologies of energy transition increased from 27 percent of patent applications in the sector in 2000 to 34 percent in 2019. While China has taken the top position for international patent applications and has been an early adopter of electric vehicles that remain a key driver of innovation, the report found it lagging in low carbon technologies accounting for only eight percent of patent filings. Europe came at the top with 28 percent of total patent filings in that sector, followed by Japan at 25 percent, and the United States at 20 percent.
From : pk.mashable.com