Biomass gasification technology belongs to renewable energy sector, it allows a valuable energy product in the form of synthesis gas to be produced from different types of widely-available and renewable biomass, including agricultural or forestry waste, organic solid municipal waste, purposefully-grown inedible plants, or livestock waste. According experts, in 2020 global biomass gasification market size exceeded 90 billion US dollars, and this market develops steadily with a yearly average growth rate of more than 7%.
Biomass gasification is a well-developed high temperature process to transform solid bio fuel into a producer gas. The gasification agent can consist of air, steam or oxygen. As a result of gasification, a syngas is formed consisting of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, as well as other gases and substances, including nitrogen, methane, water and ash.
A modern biomass gasification plant comprises an assembly of specialized units with gasifier being the most essential of them. Besides the gasifier, such plant will necessarily include units for feedstock and chemical agent preparation and feeding; feedstock and gas heating; gas cooling and treatment; reuse of exhaust gases and heat carriers; capture and discharge of dusts, ash, condensates, waste water, sludge, etc. Often, the plant’s layout includes units for synthesis gas conversion into end products (heat, power, liquid fuel).
Currently, there are several types of gasifiers used for biomass gasification. Some of the most common are counter-current fixed bed, where a fixed bed of carbonaceous fuel is treated using steam, oxygen or air which flows through it in counter-current configuration; co-current fixed bed, which employs a gasification agent gas that flows in a co-current configuration with the fuel; fluidized bed, where fuel undergoes fluidization in oxygen and steam or air; or entrained flow, where feedstock is gasified with oxygen or air in a co-current flow.
Feedstock can have different heating values and moisture content what is the serious problem. During the gasification of biomass, a large amount of tar, which are mixtures of heavy organic compounds, are generated. They may be responsible for clogging of the gasification installation and increase its failure rates. Tar formation is one of the biggest issues which cause poor quality gas output and increased maintenance. Environmental issues surrounding biomass gasification include the emission of toxic gases, such as CO, CH4, NOx.
Solving these problems can provide additional reserves for the use of biomass and represents promising way to improve the efficiency of the renewable energy industry in general. A considerable portion of efficient technical solutions aimed to resolve the aforementioned problems is concentrated in patent documents registered in various patent offices. However, subject-oriented search, precise selection and systematization of such documents are associated with substantial difficulties of technical, linguistic and methodological nature. First of all, this is related to the fact that currently neither the existing marking of inventions, nor the search options proposed in patent databases allow for a comprehensive and reliable selection of patents and patent applications that meet the required criteria. In the publisher's view, the original patent methodology used in the proposed study, in which each patent document has undergone a thorough subject-oriented evaluation and was provided with additional semantic markers to the fullest extent reflects the state-of-the-art advancements in biomass gasification technologies.
The present extended patent report consists of a patent review and annexes in the form of a database and patent document lists and includes information on 6488 patent documents published, collected in the course of a subject-oriented patent search in generally-accessible patent search systems, and processed as of August 2021, in which the authors have declared the belonging of the patent solutions to the field related to the biomass gasification.
The patent database
The patent database contains a structured set of data in Excel format for patent documents related to the subject of interest covering a time period from 1993 to 2021. Placing a patent document database in a file with an xlsx extension makes it possible to form individual selections of documents or sort them by selected parameters with the help of the in-built tools of Microsoft Office Excel. The annexed manual describes the major options of managing patent documents in the database and corresponds to the functionality of the English-language version of Microsoft Office Excel 2016. A full-text description or at least an abstract for patent documents included in the database can be found by document number in publicly-available patent search engines, for example, Google Patents. As of the date of compilation of the present review about 300 inventions published in 2020 were found, processed, and registered, which obviously is not the all-embracing result. It should be taken into consideration that the process of publication of new patent documents in national and generally-accessible databases take certain time, while their determination and processing are comprehensive and time-consuming procedures that could not be finished by September of 2021.
Individual IPC subgroups: 1589
Total IPC subgroups assigned: 23270
The patent review
A selection of inventions related to biomass gasification and published by patent offices around the globe in 2001-2020 is provided for consideration in the present review. The review includes 6333 patents and patent applications. Review and analysis of published patents and patent applications includes: distribution of documents by years; by bibliographical and technological indicators; by top patent offices; by lead countries for inventive activity; analysis of non-resident participation; correlation of International Patent Classification indices; analysis of activity of the most productive applicants; shares of participation of applicants in the intellectual property registry; rating evaluation of patent documents using original methodology; analysis of major manufacturing operations and equipment.
For each of the patent documents selected for the examination in the present review the characteristics of unified indicators were preliminary defined, they include: technical problems, types of inventive solutions employed, belonging to one or another technological segment. This allows the internal content for each of the indicators in the aggregate array of documents to be visualized, for instance, to define the sequence and proportional correlation of technical problems the inventive solutions disclosed in the texts aim to solve.
The review provides data relating to the patenting activity in the leading patent offices, including USPTO (US), EPO (States to the European Patent Convention), CNIPA (CN), KIPO (KR), JPO (JP), CIPO (CA), IP Australia (AU), DPMA (DE), Rospatent (RU), INPI (BR).
It contains a detailed description of the results of patenting activity for the leading applicants, including:
Statistical data is presented in two comparative variants – for patents granted during the entire analytical period and for applications published during the last five years.
The chapter "Major manufacturing operations and equipment" provides a detailed statistical and technological analysis of patent documents related to Biomass Gasification, which was conducted for individual patent groups containing documents with similar technological attributes:
The groups were selected on a trade-off basis, taking into consideration the technological importance of a subject, its popularity with inventors, the possibility of unambiguous interpretation of technological attributes of a group, and reasonable number of the groups. For each group general statistical indicators were calculated, including breakdown of patent documents by years and by major patent offices, and also leading applicants and statistical indicator trends were provided. IPC indices, problems of inventions, technology elements, and the list of the top groups of identical unified indicators are provided as technological indicators. The patents having the highest rating in each group and the patents representing the most extensive patent families were reviewed.
The conclusion contains comparative statistical data that allow the resulting patenting trends to be exposed and main conclusions to be drawn. Such diagrams as relationship of number of applications to total number of patent documents by year, relationship of number of single applications to total number of applications by year, new applicants by year, top new IPC subgroups, and others, are presented here.
The lists of patent documents
The lists of patent documents from the database are composed in PDF format and are presented in three variants: Breakdown by applicants; Breakdown by unified groups; Breakdown by IPC classes. Each patent document in a list is provided with main bibliographical data, core document number, and translation of title from national language into the English language, a list of technological indicators, and a rating value. The lists of patent documents by applicants are additionally sorted by patent families. Breakdown by unified groups includes the lists of group combinations of inventions having identical unified indicators. Inside these groups patent documents are sorted by clusters, which additionally demonstrate the utmost similarities in bibliographical indicators of the patent documents. Breakdown by IPC classes form a list of patent documents combined in groups having the same IPC sections and IPC classes. All documents with the exact match of IPC subgroups can be found by means of simple searching procedures in this list. Users can benefit from any of the proposed versions of annexes, depending on their preferences or objectives.
Arrangement of the report in different configurations, including patent review, database in Excel format, and original lists of patent documents will provide various groups of users with full-scale access to the included materials.
Who needs this report?
This Report serves as one of the variants to monitor advanced technical achievements in the specified industrial sector. The statistical data, rating evaluations and carefully selected patent documents provided in the Report can be of interest for inventors, engineers, researchers, students and educators, as well as for businessmen and investors, who in one way or another are concerned with the problems of the development of bioenergy technologies.
The present database was prepared by EnerTechUp company and its partners. The database includes patent documents that were carefully collected from the publicly available sources and, according to the authors, to the greatest degree represent the latest innovations in the particular energy industry as of the date of the database preparation. Detailed information on the methodology of search and processing of patent documents is available at Advanced Energy Technologies website (aenert.com). Considering the difficulties related to the compilation of lists of international patent documents, including those related to time frames, national and terminological barriers, as well as taking into consideration high labour intensity of collecting the required analytical information and performing its qualitative interpretation, the authors of the database cannot guarantee absolute completeness and accuracy of the represented materials and disclaim any responsibility for the use thereof. EnerTechUp company represents this material “as is” and rejects any claims and liabilities arising from the use of data published therein, including, but not limited to: compensation for any type of financial damage, lost profit or compensation for moral injury. These stipulations also refer to employees, shareholders, agents and data suppliers of EnerTechUp company.
Patent database 1993-2021 (Excel file)
IPC (brief definitions of IPC indices used in the Database)
Keywords (presence of specific keywords in the original title of the document or its English translation, keyword can be typed in to the header cell)
Family IPC pool (list of IPC indices assigned to all available documents of the patent family of the document)
Patent Review (PDF 15.6 Mb, 439 pages, 714 slides)
Leading patent offices
Basic manufacturing operations and equipment
Abbreviations and glossary
The lists of patent documents
Annex 1. Breakdown by applicants 1993 - 2021 (PDF file), 5.35 Mb, 880 pages
Annex 2. Breakdown by IPC classes 1993 - 2021 (PDF file), 3.71 Mb, 524 pages
Annex 3. Primary Processing. Breakdown by unified groups 1993 - 2021 (PDF file), 3.1 Mb, 459 pages