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Wind Energy 2018/ key indicators

Recent Inventions / Brief Overview

Source: A.Disers

Wind energy is one of the most intensively developing sectors of renewable energy. To a great extent this is promoted by abundant inventive activity. This review represents statistical indicators that characterize major priorities of inventors based on the patent applications registered during 2018 in the patent offices around the world. In the process of the patent search a set of patent applications related to horizontal axis wind turbines were collected. In total, 1583 patent applications were collected for the present review as of the date of this publication, which are represented by 301 applicants from 29 countries in 28 patent offices of the world. The methodology of searching and processing patent documents is provided on the Advanced Energy Technologies website.

In 2018 four patent offices were particularly popular – USPTO (US), EPO (EPC states), CNIPA (China) and WIPO. It is obvious that, to a great extent, the territorial connection of patenting corresponds to local development level for this technological sector. For instance, the aggregate share of installed capacities of wind energy in China, the USA and European countries in 2018 exceeded 70% of the global values, while the share of patent applications filed in USPTO, EPO and CNIPA comprised 57% in that year, excluding applications filed in the national patent offices of the European countries.

Distribution of patent applications, published by the top 10 patent offices

Offise2018Share of total, %
Canadian Intellectual Property Office453
State Intellectual Property Office, China27117.8
German Patent and Trade Mark Office593.9
European Patent Office31520.7
Mexican Institute of Industrial Property171.1
National Institute of Industrial Property, Brazil986.4
Japan Patent Office835.5
Korean Intellectual Property Office, South Korea503.3
United States Patent and Trademark Office33321.9
World Intellectual Property Organization25016.4

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

In total, in 2018 the top 10 offices above accepted 96% of the total amount of patent documents in the field under revision.
The patenting landscape among residents and non-residents looks particularly strange. While almost all of the applicants in Mexican Institute of Industrial Property and Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property were non-residents, in the European Patent Organisation this value was slightly higher than 20%, which is usually common to the patent office of China. However, in CNIPA those were non-residents, who filed 75% of the applications.

As has usually been the case during recent years, in 2018 the most productive applicants were from Denmark and Germany, in total having a share of more than 60% of patent applications. The top 10 countries having the most active applicants also included the USA, China, Japan, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, South Korea and Switzerland. Only 72 patent applications were filed by applicants from other countries.

Distribution of countries of the world by the number of resident applicants in patent applications

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

In total, 705 individual IPC subgroups as defined by WIPO were found in the collected batch of patent documents. The most demanded of them were: F03D 1/06 - Rotors; F03D 7/02 - the wind motors having rotation axis substantially parallel to the air flow entering the rotor; F03D 7/04 - Automatic control, Regulation; F03D 17/00 - Monitoring or testing of wind motors, e.g. diagnostics.

According to our own estimation, based on the analysis of texts of patent documents, the majority of inventions were related to improvements in Control and Safety systems, and Blades and components thereof – they were mentioned in more than a half of the patent applications. Also, the authors were very interested in improvements in Maintenance, repair and replacement, and perfection of Structural elements.

Distribution of patent applications by the number of technology elements mentions

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

AC - Aerodynamic casings (nacelles, shrouds, etc.); B - Blades and components thereof; CSS - Control and safety systems; EE - Electrical equipment and generators; ESH - Energy storage and hybrid generation systems; GT - Gearbox and transmission; MRR - Maintenance, repair and replacement; OTE - Other technology elements; R - Rotors and components thereof; SE - Structural elements

Among technical, ecological and organizational problems, the creative efforts of the inventors were primarily aimed at solving, the following should be outlined: High OPEX/Repair and replacement; High CAPEX/Equipment production; High OPEX/Operational maintenance; High CAPEX/Plant construction. As can be seen, all of them in one way or another are related to the high cost of equipment or individual technological operations. In aggregate, these problems were mentioned in 70% of the total number of inventors' references to any problem in the texts of patent documents (many patent applications address the solutions for two or more problems simultaneously, which is why their total number doesn’t correspond to the total number of documents).

 Distribution of technical problems in the patent applications found

ProblemAverage ratingShare, %Total 2018
Administrative and organisational problems12.15120
Environmental and social impact11.46.5136
High CAPEX / Plant construction11.2311.5239
High costs in general10.290.817
High CAPEX / Equipment production11.3515.1314
High OPEX / Operational maintenance11.9411.2232
High OPEX / Repair and replacement11.528.6595
Low efficiency in general13.130.715
Low kinetic-to-mechanical power conversion efficiency10.523.777
Low mechanical-to-electric power conversion efficiency10.391.328
Low efficiency caused by secondary natural factors9.674.899
Low efficiency of secondary equipment11.267.6158
Low efficiency caused by wind variability9.651.531
Unclear problem105.6116

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

In 116 patent documents, either we didn't manage to define any precise problem or the problem disclosed isn’t present in the above list of major problems.

More detailed information on the methodology as well as on the results of patent researches in the most important fields of contemporary energy industry can be found at Advanced Energy Technologies.