The report is the first of its kind and uses global patent data to provide comprehensive up-to-date analysis of innovation in all hydrogen technologies. It covers the full range of technologies, from hydrogen supply to storage, distribution and transformation, as well as end-use applications.
The study presents the major trends in hydrogen technologies from 2011 to 2020, measured in terms of international patent families (IPFs), each of which represents a high-value invention for which patent applications have been filed at two or more patent offices worldwide. The report finds that global patenting in hydrogen is led by the European Union and Japan, which account for 28% and 24% respectively of all IPFs filed in this period, with significant growth in the past decade. The leading countries in Europe are Germany (11% of the global total), France (6%), and the Netherlands (3%).
“Hydrogen from low-emissions sources can play an important role in clean energy transitions with potential to replace fossil fuels in industries where few clean alternatives exist, like long-haul transport and fertilizer production,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “This study shows that innovators are responding to the need for competitive hydrogen supply chains, but also identifies areas – particularly among end-users – where more effort is required. We will continue to help governments spur innovation for secure, resilient and sustainable clean energy technologies.”
“Harnessing the potential of hydrogen is a key part of Europe’s strategy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050,” said EPO President António Campinos. “But if hydrogen is to play a major role in reducing CO2 emissions, innovation is urgently needed across a range of technologies. This report reveals some encouraging transition patterns across countries and industry sectors, including Europe’s major contribution to the emergence of new hydrogen technologies. It also highlights the contribution of start-ups to hydrogen innovation, and their reliance on patents to bring their inventions to market.”