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 electrolysis, 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: power-to-gas system. 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.
Power-to-gas system is a key innovation area in hydrogen
A power-to-gas system converts excess renewable electricity into hydrogen or synthetic natural gas (SNG) via electrolysis. The process involves breaking down water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis, with the hydrogen produced being stored for later use in fuel cells or further synthesized into SNG.
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 180+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of power-to-gas system.
Key players in power-to-gas system – 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 power-to-gas system
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Ineos is one of the leading patent fillers in the power-to-gas systems. The UK-based chemicals manufacturer had allocated €2bn as investment towards green hydrogen production in 2021. In 2022, the company completed a feasibility study for a 100MW water electrolysis plant for green hydrogen production at its Köln site in Germany. Some other key patent filers in the space include Linde, ThyssenKrupp, and Rv Lizenz.
In terms of application diversity, Mcalister Technologies lead the pack, while Commonwealth Scientific and ZEG Power stood in the second and third positions, respectively. Mcalister, a US-based technology developer, holds a range of patents related to power-to-gas, encompassing technologies such as electrolysis of wastewater.
By means of geographic reach, RV Lizenz held the top position, followed by Illuminate Buyer and ZEG Power. The Swiss company manages copyrights, patents and trademarks relating to clean energy systems.
A power-to-gas system allows power producers to divert the excess power generated towards storage for future use, especially through harnessing renewable energy such as wind and solar. The technique can also be employed to principally only produce stored energy as per specific project plan.
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.