CAMBRIDGE, UK, Jan. 24, 2012 – Around 20% of patent families related to desalination technologies refer to integration with a renewable energy source, a new report has claimed.
Research published by the World Intellectual Property Organization and authored by CambridgeIP examined the latest trends in innovation, technology ownership and geographical focus in the field of desalination technology, with a special focus on desalination systems using renewable energy.
From a total of 4551 patent families around desalination technologies, more than 20% refer to integration with a renewable energy source.
Thermal energy integration with desalination has seen the most patenting activity, accounting for more than 80% of the patent families relating to renewable energy integration with desalination.
Company and product case studies in the report also illustrate how patents underpin real commercial products in this space, such as container-based Solar PV-desalination integration solutions, ideal for rural communities and remote industrial applications.
“Renewable energy-desalination integration is already a reality in off-grid remote locations and island communities,” said Ilian Iliev, CEO of CambridgeIP.
“As the cost of various renewable energy sources decreases and the newer desalination technologies are deployed at scale, we anticipate that desalination renewable energy applications will become a core part of the modern water utility system.
“As the market size and competition in this space increases companies with a solid IP strategy and awareness of their patent landscape will find they are better positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities.”
The report also found that the desalination technology competitive landscape is changing. Looking at the number of patent families, it found that the patenting position of Japanese conglomerates - who historically lead innovation in this technology space - was matched in the last five years by companies from South Korea, the US and Germany.
Surprisingly, Africa and the Middle East have not seen a very high number of desalination patents, even though they are some of the key potential markets for this technology, according to the report. Alternative studies have been carried out to address the feasibility of wind powered seawater reverse osmosis desalination in Gulf region conditions (see Water & Wastewater International magazine article).
The study was developed in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency and Global Institute for Water Environment and Health.
- To read a copy of the full report, please click here.