The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by carbon emission concerns, energy transition, and energy security aspects, and growing importance of technologies such as carbon capture, low-carbon hydrogen production, and energy storage. 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 Hydrogen in oil & gas: hydrogen refueling. 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.
Hydrogen refueling is a key emerging innovation area in hydrogen
Hydrogen refueling refers to the process of supplying hydrogen fuel to a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). It involves systems and methods that ensure the efficient and safe transfer of hydrogen from a filling facility to the vehicle’s hydrogen tank. These systems often incorporate management, transport, and positioning means to optimize the refueling process and enable easy replenishment of hydrogen in fuel cell vehicles.
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 130 companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of hydrogen refueling.
Key players in hydrogen refueling – 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 hydrogen refueling
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Air Liquide has the most patents related to hydrogen refueling in the oil & gas industry. The company is one of the leading industrial gas suppliers in the world. It has installed more than 200 hydrogen stations around the world. In February 2023, the company collaborated with TotalEnergies to develop a network of more than 100 hydrogen stations for heavy duty vehicles in Europe. Some other key patent filers in the oil and gas industry include Toyota Motor, Kobe Steel, and Linde.
In terms of application diversity, Nikola leads the pack, while 3M and MSL Compressor stood in the second and third positions, respectively. Nikola produces heavy duty trucks fueled by hydrogen, and thus depends on hydrogen refueling network for business sustenance. In August 2023, the company reported receiving of $16.3M in additional grants and government funding to support seven open-network hydrogen refueling stations.
By means of geographic reach, Alternative Fuel Containers held the top position, followed by UK-based firm NACCO Materials Handling and Japanese firm Nitto Kohki.
Hydrogen-based vehicle adoption is expected to grow, especially in key markets in Europe and Asia, facilitated by developments in hydrogen refueling technology.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Hydrogen in Oil and Gas.