The oil and gas industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for improving productivity, minimising downtime, enhancing safety and reducing emissions, with the growing importance of technologies such as quantum computing, Artificial Intelligence and big data]. 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: Biofuel catalytic cracking.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

40+ innovations will shape the oil and gas industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the oil & gas industry using innovation intensity models built on over 256,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, carbon capture MOFs, and biogas carbon capturing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Methane capturing, natural gas CO2 capturing, and flue gas treatment are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bio-fuels and aviation bio-fuels, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the oil and gas industry

Biofuel catalytic cracking is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Catalytic cracking involves the breaking down or cracking the large molecules into smaller ones to produce distillates and gasoline. Nowadays, it is also being used to synthesise biofuels.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of biofuel catalytic cracking.

Key players in biofuel catalytic cracking – a disruptive innovation in the oil and gas industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to biofuel catalytic cracking

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Anellotech 143 Unlock company profile
Shell 74 Unlock company profile
UPM-Kymmene 69 Unlock company profile
KiOR 68 Unlock company profile
TotalEnergies 37 Unlock company profile
Arkema 26 Unlock company profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 25 Unlock company profile
Albemarle 22 Unlock company profile
Elevance Renewable Sciences 20 Unlock company profile
Valmet 19 Unlock company profile
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research 19 Unlock company profile
Lurgi 16 Unlock company profile
Inaeris Technologies 14 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 14 Unlock company profile
Air Liquide 13 Unlock company profile
Phillips 66 13 Unlock company profile
Wilmar International 12 Unlock company profile
SK Chemicals 12 Unlock company profile
NewMarket 12 Unlock company profile
POET Research 11 Unlock company profile
BDI- BioEnergy International 9 Unlock company profile
Petroleo Brasileiro 9 Unlock company profile
G4 Insights 8 Unlock company profile
Archer Daniels Midland 8 Unlock company profile
Steeper Energy 7 Unlock company profile
RAG-Stiftung 6 Unlock company profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 6 Unlock company profile
Catalytic Distillation Technologies 5 Unlock company profile
Perstorp Holding 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Anellotech is a sustainable technology company that leads the patent filers in biofuel catalytic cracking in the oil and gas industry. Its research and development team actively works on producing petrochemical-based compounds such as benzene, toluene and xylene from non-food biomass by catalytic cracking through Bio-TCat™ technology.

Biofuel catalytic cracking has huge potential in the oil and gas industry because of its cost effectiveness, biodegradability, and reusability. Unlike other conventional techniques such as thermal catalytic, it has potential for greater yields in biofuels simply by diversifying catalysts. Therefore, it is crucial for companies to invest in innovative solutions that ensure sustainable production of biofuels through catalytic cracking.

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.


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.