In the last decade, climate change-driven technologies accounted for almost 80 percent of patents, especially those related to hydrogen production.
The development of hydrogen technologies is shifting towards low-emission solutions, such as electrolysis, according to an analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Patent Office (EPO).
According to the report "Hydrogen patents for a clean energy future," patents for hydrogen technologies are in supply, storage, distribution and transformation, as well as end-use applications.
"Hydrogen from low-emission sources can play an important role in the transition to clean energy, with potential to replace fossil fuels in sectors where there are few clean alternatives, such as long-distance transport and fertilizer production," said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA.
"Harnessing the potential of hydrogen is a key part of Europe's strategy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050," said António Campinos, the president of the EPO.
For hydrogen to play a major role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, innovation is needed in several technologies.
The European Union and Japan lead in all international patent families (IPF) for hydrogen.
The European countries with the most registrations are Germany, France and the Netherlands, with 11, 6 and 3 percent of the world total.
The United States is the only country with a decrease in patent applications.
Between 2011 and 2020, Japan and the European Union accounted for more than half of all hydrogen-related patents.
SHARE OF HYDROGEN-RELATED PATENTS
European Union 28% Japan
Japan 24% United States
United States 20% South Korea
South Korea 7% China
China 4% Rest of the world
Rest of the world 17%.
Source: IEA / EPO