Patent Filings for Green Hydrogen Production Technologies on the Rise

On 12th May 2022, a joint study was published by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) concerning the dynamism and trends in the field of hydrogen that can be produced using renewable electricity via the process of electrolysis. According to the patent statistics, the innovation trends in electrolyzers for the production of hydrogen show a consistent pattern, which says that Patent Filings for green hydrogen production technologies have increased by 18% on average every year since 2005. IRENA has significantly been driving the agenda on hydrogen globally within the broader context of accelerating the worldwide energy transition in pursuit of the 1.5˚C climate objective.

While being the prime subject of many researchers across the globe, hydrogen has undoubtedly emerged as an exceedingly attractive green energy source not just because of its availability in abundance but also because it can be obtained through the electrolysis of water with the help of renewable electricity in the presence of electrocatalysts. Additionally, renewable-based hydrogen can efficiently be used as fuel in fuel cells where water is the only by-product and as feedstock in the chemical sector. It can also replace the fossil sources in synthetic fuels, for instance, when combined well with captured carbon.

As our surrounding environment is showing some signs of grave problems arising in the future, the ultimate demand for cleaner energy has never been greater. Irrespective of the steep increase in the number of Patent Applications filed, the joint study published mentions that significant innovations in electrolyzer technology are still required to reduce the costs further and make it market-ready at industrial levels. Along with various charts and commentary, the joint study shall strike a chord with the investors, companies, and technologists looking forward to understanding these rapidly expanding technology domains in a better way.

The new joint study tracks the patent filings’ evolution over the past 15 years and sheds light on various trends, including:

  • In 2016, the number of patent families concerning water electrolysis technologies excelled the number of patent filings related to producing hydrogen from fossil sources, for instance, liquid or solid coal and oil-based hydrogen sources. Two years later, in 2018, inventions for electrocatalysts based on cheaper minerals exceeded the number of inventions based on way more traditional but expensive electrocatalysts, i.e., the ones using platinum, silver, gold, or other noble metals, thereby confirming the drive for cheaper alternatives.

The previously mentioned trend is demonstrated and pronounced by an increase in the national patent filings of China. Photo electrolysis is a robust, newly emerging technology capable of integrating hydrogen and electricity production in one step, consequently lowering the production costs. The joint study reports an above-average number of international patent families in this field – 50% of those are filed by universities. For more visit:

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