What you need to know (in a nutshell)
The global market size for energy storage is expected have significant growth in the near term.
This growth is likely to fuel increased R&D spending in the energy storage sector.
As a result, patent filing activity in the field of energy storage is expected to continue to increase in the short to medium term.
The growth in battery technology patent filings is expected to continue as the global market for energy storage expands. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have been widely used in electronic devices, and their use is expected to increase in electric vehicles and energy storage applications. Increased R&D spending in the sector may lead to even more patent activity in the future.
The demand for battery technology is increasing as the world shifts towards electric vehicles and renewable energy. Leading car manufacturers are investing in electric vehicles and countries are implementing bans on the sale of combustion engine vehicles. This is leading to a significant increase in patent filings for battery technology.
The global market for lithium-ion batteries is projected to grow significantly over the next decade, driven by the increasing adoption of electric vehicles and energy storage. This growth is expected to fuel increased R&D spending and patent activity in the battery technology industry. The Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia is one of the largest lithium-ion battery installations in the world and has saved consumers over $150 million in its first two years of operation.
The demand for energy storage solutions is on the rise, driving increased patent activity in the field of battery technologies. A recent study by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Patent Office (EPO) found that patent publications in the fields of batteries and electricity storage grew by 14% annually between 2008 and 2018, compared to an annual growth rate of only 3.5% across all fields of endeavour. Electric mobility was found to be the major driver of the increase in patenting rates.
According to a recent study by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Patent Office (EPO), Japan and the Republic of Korea are leading the way in battery patent activity. Companies in these countries accounted for nine of the top ten global players, and over 40% of all lithium-ion patent activity came out of Japan between 2014 and 2018. The study considers patent applications published up until 2018, and therefore captures inventive activity that took place prior to that time.
The growth of the global market for energy storage is expected to fuel increased R&D spending, leading to more patent filing activity in the battery technology sector. Analysis shows that patent publications in the fields of batteries and electricity storage grew by 14% annually between 2008 and 2018, compared to a growth rate of only 3.5% across all fields of endeavour. This activity reflects the use of batteries in a wide range of electronic devices, but electric mobility was the major driver of the observed increase in patenting rates. It is likely that patent filing rates in the sector will continue to increase as electric vehicle uptake grows at a faster rate than predicted. As a result, significant patent activity in batteries and other energy storage technologies is expected to continue over the coming years.
According to the IEA/EPO report, 45% of all patent activity in battery cells in 2018 related to lithium-ion technology. The majority of current research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on improving existing products. While other battery technologies are also being researched, the high cost of current manufacturing facilities means that new technologies would need to be able to take advantage of existing infrastructure in order to be successful.
A recent report identifies 7 key factors that impact the performance of lithium-ion batteries. These include:
cost of manufacture,
specific energy (W/kg),
specific power (W/kg), and
Improving any of these factors can enhance the overall performance and usefulness of lithium-ion batteries in various applications.
It is important to be aware of the growth and development of battery technology and its potential impact on the market. Lithium-ion technology is set to dominate in electric vehicle and energy storage applications, and the global market is projected to grow significantly in the coming years. This growth is expected to fuel increased research and development spending, resulting in even greater patent activity in the field. Understanding the key factors that impact lithium-ion battery performance, such as cost, charge rate, and energy density, can help businesses make informed decisions about their use and development.
There has been a recent increase in patent filing activity in battery technologies. The growth of the global market size for energy storage is predicted to fuel increased R&D spend, which may lead to even greater levels of activity in the patent arena. Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized electronic devices, and their use is expected to continue to dominate in electric vehicle and energy storage applications. Japan and the Republic of Korea currently lead the way in battery patent activity, and the majority of current research focuses on improving existing lithium-ion batteries.
Advancements in anode technology have been challenging. Currently, graphite is commonly used as the active material in anodes due to its low cost and availability. However, it has a relatively low lithium storage capacity, limiting the energy density of the batteries it is used in. One potential solution to this issue is to use an anode containing lithium metal, which would greatly increase the energy density of the battery. Another area of focus in anode development is the use of silicon-containing anodes. In 2018, the number of patents published for lithium metal and silicon-containing anodes began to approach the number of patents published for traditional graphite anodes.
The development of cathode materials has been a key area of focus in the commercial battery industry. Early electric vehicles used cathodes made of lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) and lithium manganese oxide (LMO), but the need for higher power output and faster charging led to the adoption of lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) and more recently lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCA) cathodes. These shifts in cathode chemistry can be seen in the relative patenting rates for different cathode materials.
In addition to improving performance, there is also a focus on reducing the amount of expensive cobalt used in battery cells, as well as addressing related sustainability issues. Approximately 60% of the world's cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Development of solid-state cells may replace flammable liquid electrolytes with solid electrolytes. This technology has seen growing interest in recent years, with patent activity in the area increasing at an average rate of 25% per year between 2010 and 2018. Solid-state cells have the potential to improve battery safety and performance, making them a promising area of development for the battery industry.
It is important to recognize and protect new developments with patents in order to take full advantage of the commercial potential of this growing industry. The future market for battery technologies is large, and even smaller players could establish a significant presence by developing impactful technology. Protecting these developments through a robust patent strategy will be crucial in maximizing potential opportunities.
However, the high level of patenting activity in the industry is likely to lead to an increase in patent disputes in the future. As companies seek to defend their patent positions or navigate through existing patent thickets to bring their products to market, disputes over intellectual property are likely to become more common. It is important for businesses to be prepared for this possibility and have strategies in place to protect their patents and defend their rights.
The sector has seen some notable disputes over patents and trade secrets. For example, there have been disputes between Varta and Samsung (Europe), SK Innovation and LG (US), and 3M and Sanyo. More recently, there has been a dispute between Chinese companies Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and China Lithium Battery Technology (CALB).