The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to reduce emissions, the energy transition, and a reduction in the dependence on fossil fuels, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning. In the last three years alone, there have been over 523,000 patents filed and granted in the oil & gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in oil & gas: biomass gasification. Buy the reports here.

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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 stabilizing 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.

60+ innovations will shape the oil & 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 196,000 patents, there are 60+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, high-pressure gas vessels, boil-off gas treatment, and oil recovery CWI are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Green hydrogen synthesis, hydrocarbon lubricants, and oil well surveillance are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are cryogenic gas separation and olefin metathesis catalysts, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the oil & gas industry

Biomass gasification is a key innovation area in oil & gas

Biomass gasification is the process of converting biomass into a fuel gas, known as synthesis gas or syngas, which can be used to generate electricity, heat, and other products. In this process, biomass is heated in a low-oxygen environment to produce syngas that contains hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and other components that can be further processed into a variety of products.

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 170+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of biomass gasification.

Key players in biomass gasification – a disruptive innovation in the oil & gas industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to biomass gasification

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Ineos 193 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 130 Unlock Company Profile
Moody's 116 Unlock Company Profile
Sundrop Fuels 109 Unlock Company Profile
Cortus 105 Unlock Company Profile
UPM-Kymmene 98 Unlock Company Profile
Mcalister Technologies 94 Unlock Company Profile
Enerkem 90 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 76 Unlock Company Profile
Air Products and Chemicals 74 Unlock Company Profile
Ecoloop 73 Unlock Company Profile
Velocys 73 Unlock Company Profile
Illuminate Buyer 72 Unlock Company Profile
Rv Lizenz 70 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 68 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 58 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 57 Unlock Company Profile
InEnTec 57 Unlock Company Profile
Eastman Chemical 55 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 54 Unlock Company Profile
ThermoChem Recovery International 54 Unlock Company Profile
GreatPoint Energy 48 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 47 Unlock Company Profile
Electricite de France 46 Unlock Company Profile
Engie 43 Unlock Company Profile
Shell International Research 40 Unlock Company Profile
LanzaTech Global 39 Unlock Company Profile
ZEG Power 38 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 38 Unlock Company Profile
ZE ENERGY 36 Unlock Company Profile
Sekisui Chemical 34 Unlock Company Profile
8 Rivers Capital 32 Unlock Company Profile
Neste 32 Unlock Company Profile
Sundrop Ip 32 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 30 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Matthey 30 Unlock Company Profile
HRD 30 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 30 Unlock Company Profile
Expander Energy 28 Unlock Company Profile
Alstom 26 Unlock Company Profile
Casale 25 Unlock Company Profile
ConocoPhillips 25 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 25 Unlock Company Profile
Cool Planet Energy Systems 23 Unlock Company Profile
BP 23 Unlock Company Profile
Renergi 20 Unlock Company Profile
Foret Plasma Labs 20 Unlock Company Profile
G4 Insights 20 Unlock Company Profile
Taylor Biomass Energy 19 Unlock Company Profile
Alter Nrg 18 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Ineos is one of the leading patent filers in biomass gasification. One of its subsidiaries, INEOS Bio has developed a new bioenergy technology to convert vegetative and wood waste into commercial quantities of bioethanol, and renewable electricity using its gasification and fermentation technology. It is a joint venture project between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy and can produce eight million gallons of bioethanol and renewable power of six megawatts. Some other key patent filers in biomass gasification are ThyssenKrupp and Moody's.

In terms of application diversity, Sekisui Chemical leads the pack, while BP and LanzaTech Global stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Rv Lizenz held the top position, followed by LanzaTech Global and ZEG Power.

Biomass gasification can be one of the potential alternatives for fossil fuels and many companies are approaching it for clean energy. Efforts are continuously being made to develop biomass gasification into a more mature and competitive technology and an economically viable solution.

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

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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.