The oil and gas industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for improved productivity, emissions reductions and long-term sustainability, and growing importance of technologies such as cryogenic storage, and liquid hydrogen storage, fuel cells, green hydrogen and carbon capture. In the last three years alone, there have been over 534,000 patents filed and granted in the oil & gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environment Sustainability in Oil & Gas: Liquified hydrogen storage.

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 stabilising 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.

40+ 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 256,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, carbon capture MOFs and biogas carbon capturing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Methane capturing, natural gas CO2 capturing, and flue gas treatment are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bio-fuels and aviation bio-fuels, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the oil & gas industry

Liquified hydrogen storage is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

For liquid hydrogen storage, high-pressure tanks and cryogenic temperatures are required.

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 liquified hydrogen storage.

Key players in liquified hydrogen storage – a disruptive innovation in the oil & gas industry

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

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

Air Liquide is one of the leading patent filers in the liquid hydrogen storage segment. Air Liquide manufactured liquid hydrogen storage tanks for the Ariane launcher. Each tank can hold 28 tonnes of liquid hydrogen tank and is used to power the main engine.

Hydrogen can be stored in composite tanks or bottles for simpler and more effective transportation. The mechanical durability of the components that make up these bottles is a research focus for Air Liquide scientists. The storage tanks must be perfectly isolated in order to store hydrogen.

Linde is another leading company covering the entire hydrogen value chain from production and processing through distribution and storage. The company has proposed various technologies and equipment to deliver and store gaseous hydrogen and liquid hydrogen.

Liquid hydrogen, with its applications as a clean energy source, has potential to revolutionize the oil and gas industry. However, this transition can only be driven by considerable improvement in technologies for producing blue and green hydrogen, making it more viable for commercial use.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Top 20 Oil & Gas Themes 2022.

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.