The oil and gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for improved efficiency, productivity and sustainability. The industry is pursuing a clean energy transition, driving growth in investment in technologies such as green hydrogen, fuel cells, and carbon capture and storage (CCS). In the last three years alone, there have been over 523,000 patents filed and granted in the oil and gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environment sustainability in oil & gas: green hydrogen synthesis. Buy the report here.

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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.

Green hydrogen synthesis is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Green hydrogen synthesis essentially involves electrolysis of water. When an electric current is passed through water in an electrolyser system, the molecules are split into hydrogen and oxygen. If the electrical energy consumed during the electrolysis process is derived from renewable energy sources, the produced hydrogen is categorised as green hydrogen.

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 290+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of green hydrogen synthesis.

Key players in green hydrogen synthesis – 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 green hydrogen synthesis

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 291 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 261 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 228 Unlock Company Profile
De Nora Permelec 174 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 152 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 139 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Kasei 106 Unlock Company Profile
Industrie De Nora 96 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 82 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 78 Unlock Company Profile
NACCO Materials Handling Group 75 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 70 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 66 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 63 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 63 Unlock Company Profile
Hymeth Aps 61 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 60 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 49 Unlock Company Profile
Nihon Trim 47 Unlock Company Profile
3M 46 Unlock Company Profile
Next Hydrogen 46 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 41 Unlock Company Profile
NGK Spark Plug 40 Unlock Company Profile
Rolls-Royce 39 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 36 Unlock Company Profile
Osaka Gas 36 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 36 Unlock Company Profile
Tokuyama 34 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 31 Unlock Company Profile
Metso Outotec 30 Unlock Company Profile
Metso 30 Unlock Company Profile
HTceramix 29 Unlock Company Profile
Giner 28 Unlock Company Profile
G T A 28 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Matthey 28 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 27 Unlock Company Profile
MiZ 26 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 25 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 25 Unlock Company Profile
AquaHydrex 25 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 24 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 24 Unlock Company Profile
Japan Technological Research Association of Artificial Photosynthetic Chemical Process 24 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi Zosen 23 Unlock Company Profile
Skyre 23 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 23 Unlock Company Profile
Engie 21 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 20 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 20 Unlock Company Profile
Toto 20 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, Saudi Aramco, Siemens, Repsol, and TotalEnergies are among the key patent filers for green hydrogen synthesis.

Saudi Aramco is the leading crude oil producer in the world. It is focusing on hydrogen as an alternate energy source and pursued green hydrogen technology development, announcing several green hydrogen projects, including its ambitious Neom Helios hydrogen project. This is in line with Saudi Arabia’s long-term goal of being a major supplier of green hydrogen.

Siemens entered a joint venture partnership with Air Liquide to produce industrial-scale renewable hydrogen electrolyzers. Production of electrolysis stacks at their multi-gigawatt electrolyzer facility in Berlin is expected to start in 2023 and ramp up to an annual production capacity of three gigawatts by 2025.

Repsol has partnered with Spanish gas provider Enagas and other research institutes to develop hydrogen technology. As part of its hydrogen strategy, the company will invest EUR2.5 billion (US$2.9 billion) in the hydrogen value chain by 2030.

TotalEnergies is involved in the H2 Mobility joint venture in Germany, with Air Liquide, Linde, Daimler, Hyundai, OMV, and Shell, to develop hydrogen mobility. In January 2021, the company signed a cooperation agreement with Engie to develop, design, build, and operate the Masshylia green hydrogen project in France.

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.

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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.