Our country’s race towards green energy continues.
In fact, Italy is in fifth place in Europe for the number of patents in hydrogen-related technologies and 70% of those requested by Italian companies refer to ecological technologies and technologies related to climate change.
This is what emerges from a recent joint study conducted by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) – the first of its kind – which analyzed global patent data for the period 2011-2020 to provide a complete and updated analysis of the innovations related to Hydrogen.
The European Union and Japan lead the world ranking in the number of patents, with 28% and 24% respectively of all those filed.
The leading countries in Europe are Germany (11% of the global total), France (6%) and the Netherlands (3%). Followed by Denmark and, in fifth place, Italy.
The United States, with 20% of all hydrogen-related patents, is the only major innovation hub that has seen international patent applications decline over the last decade. Activity remained subdued in South Korea and China, although it was on the rise. In addition to these top five innovation hubs, other countries that have generated significant volumes are the UK, Switzerland and Canada.
In the report, Italy’s position is defined as “solid” thanks to “the activity of some leading companies for innovation in their respective fields of specialization”.
Among these are De Nora, one of the main patent holders in electrolysers (a key technology for the production of sustainable hydrogen), and Danieli, one of the main global innovators in the production of steel through processes based on the use of hydrogen.
With the exception of 2013, from 2011 onwards, the international patents requested by Italian operators in the production of “green” hydrogen, i.e. from non-fossil energy sources, were the majority. The goal is clear: to reduce emissions by disengaging from the use of fossil fuels.
Among the many final applications of hydrogen as an energy source, the automotive sector has long been in first place in the world and patents in this field are increasing, especially from Japan. “If one considers the end use – reads the report – the same momentum is not yet visible in other applications, despite the concerted policy of recent years on the potential of Hydrogen in the decarbonisation of long-distance transport, aviation, production of energy and heat”.
This, continues the report, “raises concerns about the countries’ commitment to net zero emissions”, which cannot be achieved without addressing the issue of the still unchanged use of fossil fuels in these sectors”.
The study also finds that more than half of the $10 billion of venture capital invested in the sector in the period 2011-2020 went to patent-holding start-ups, despite the fact that these represent only a third of the applied patents.
In Italy there are many start-ups that have filed patents with the European Patent Office: for example Hysytech in Turin, SolydEra in Pergine Valsugana (Tn) and StoreH in Rovereto (Tn). The main Italian poles for innovation in the sector are Milan (which has 131 international patents) and Rome (52).
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Italy in fifth place in Europe for patents in technologies related to hydrogen – Libertà Piacenza