The oil and gas industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation. Activity driven by the need for improved productivity, enhanced safety and sustainability, and growing importance of technologies such as IoT, AI, cloud computing, big data, and machine learning. In the last three years alone, there have been over 534,000 patents filed and granted in the oil and gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environment Sustainability in Oil & Gas: Aviation bio-fuels. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 256,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the oil & gas industry, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Aviation bio-fuels is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Aviation biofuels can be derived from biomass such as plants or waste oils. Plant sources that serve as promising feedstock for production of aviation biofuels include algae, jatropha, palm oil, tallows and camelina. 

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of aviation bio-fuels.

Key players in aviation bio-fuels – a disruptive innovation in the oil & gas industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to aviation bio-fuels

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Shell 256 Unlock Company Profile
Xyleco 125 Unlock Company Profile
UPM-Kymmene 99 Unlock Company Profile
Neste 84 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 60 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 55 Unlock Company Profile
TerraVia Holdings 53 Unlock Company Profile
Elevance Renewable Sciences 35 Unlock Company Profile
Sundrop Fuels 31 Unlock Company Profile
Corbion 29 Unlock Company Profile
Proton Power 28 Unlock Company Profile
Accelergy 20 Unlock Company Profile
KiOR 20 Unlock Company Profile
Cool Planet Energy Systems 19 Unlock Company Profile
Valero Energy 18 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 18 Unlock Company Profile
Clariant 18 Unlock Company Profile
Eni 17 Unlock Company Profile
Stora Enso 16 Unlock Company Profile
Innospec 15 Unlock Company Profile
Wilmar International 14 Unlock Company Profile
Gevo 13 Unlock Company Profile
Sundrop Ip Holdings 13 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Defense 10 Unlock Company Profile
BP 9 Unlock Company Profile
Petroleo Brasileiro 9 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 8 Unlock Company Profile
Expander Energy 8 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 7 Unlock Company Profile
Swift Fuels 7 Unlock Company Profile
Marathon Oil 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Shell is a leading patent filer on aviation biofuels. Shell uses the HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids) pathway along with co-processing to generate sustainable aviation fuels from animal waste feedstock and crop oils.

TerraVia, formerly known as Solazyme, makes use of algae and other oils to produce sustainable biofuels for jet engines, while UPM, is actively conducting engineering for a biorefinery that aims to produce biofuel for aviation as well as maritime industries. The biorefinery will have an annual capacity of approximately 0.5 million tonnes.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Top 20 Oil & Gas Themes 2022.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.