Europe and Japan are leading in global hydrogen technology patents, according to this study. The US has lost ground from 2011 to 2020. Innovations from South Korea and China are just beginning to emerge at the international level.
In the period 2011-2020, Dutch companies applied for a total of 446 patents. More than half of these were for innovations in hydrogen production: 283 patents. The number of patent applications per year for innovations in hydrogen production also more than doubled in this period: from 21 applications in 2011 to 47 in 2020. This places the Netherlands in the top 3 in Europe.
Almost 60% of patents on hydrogen technologies come from large companies, including Shell, Sabic and Philips. In addition, SMEs are also applying for patents, including 10 start-ups.
The study by the EPO and IEA is the most comprehensive global current research on hydrogen patents to date, according to them, and has on technologies for the full range of hydrogen supply, storage, distribution, transformation and end-use applications. The study also looks at new search strategies to compare the innovation of established fossil fuel processes with that in emerging technologies.
The hydrogen technology market is of interest to investors. Over the past 10 years, more than half of all venture capital investment worldwide went to start-ups in the hydrogen sector with patents. The total amount involved is more than $10 billion.
The Netherlands supports the development of hydrogen technology with € 1.6 billion from the European program IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) Hydrogen. The National Hydrogen Program (NWP) supports applications of hydrogen in various sectors. The International Clean Energy Partnership (ICEP) program of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) is committed to positioning the Dutch hydrogen sector well internationally.