The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by low-carbon hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and biofuels, and growing importance of technologies such as electrolyzers, auto-thermal reforming and bio energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). 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 Environmental sustainability in oil & gas: microscale biofuel reactors. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 196,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the oil & gas industry, there are 60+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Microscale biofuel reactors is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Microscale biofuel reactors refer to small-scale devices and systems that utilize various biological feedstocks, such as biomass, to produce fuels and other valuable chemicals. These reactors may involve a range of processes and technologies, from catalytic hydroprocessing and gasification to pyrolysis and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.
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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of microscale biofuel reactors.
Key players in microscale biofuel reactors – 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 microscale biofuel reactors
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Mitsubishi is one of the leading patent filers in microscale biofuel reactors for the oil & gas industry. It is a key equipment supplier to the energy industry and is focused on developing sustainable technology for energy harnessing. It has a wide-ranging repertoire of biofuel-related technology and equipment in its product portfolio. Some other key patent filers in the space include Sundrop Fuels and Honeywell.
In terms of application diversity, Enerkem leads the pack,while Sundrop Fuels and BASF stood in the second and third positions, respectively. Enerkem has the most diverse patent portfolio in microscale biofuel reactors for the oil & gas industry. In August 2023, it collaborated with oilfield services company Technip Energies, for further advancing its technology portfolio for producing biofuels and circular chemical products from non-recyclable waste materials.
By means of geographic reach, Cortus held the top position, followed by Sundrop Fuels and Mitsubishi. Cortus is a renewable technology company focused on converting waste into renewable fuel.
Microscale biofuel reactors allow scaling down the size of a biofuel plant depending on the target location. The technology further enhances the granularity of the enzymatic reaction, which permits for higher efficiency of enzymes used and thus helps reduce overall operating costs of the project.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in Oil and Gas.