The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to lower operational costs, larger consumer trends, and electrification, and growing importance of technologies such as hydrogen and electric aircraft and advanced materials. In the last three years alone, there have been over 237,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defense industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental sustainability in defense: hydrogen fuel cells. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 206,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the aerospace and defense industry, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Hydrogen fuel cells is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
By combining hydrogen and air in the presence of a catalyst, fuel cells produce electricity to drive electric motors, the only by-product being water vapour. Compared to batteries, fuel cells are more energy converters than storage devices.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 960+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of hydrogen fuel cells.
Key players in hydrogen fuel cells – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defense industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to hydrogen fuel cells
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|ENEOS||213||Unlock Company Profile|
|Intelligent Energy||225||Unlock Company Profile|
|Landmark Graphics||90||Unlock Company Profile|
|Robert Bosch||131||Unlock Company Profile|
|LG Fuel Cell Systems||180||Unlock Company Profile|
|ExxonMobil Research & Engineering||566||Unlock Company Profile|
|IdaTech||94||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nuvera Fuel Cells||198||Unlock Company Profile|
|Panasonic Corporation of North America||247||Unlock Company Profile|
|GM Global Technology Operations||109||Unlock Company Profile|
|Panasonic Intellectual Property Management||1177||Unlock Company Profile|
|Texaco Development||94||Unlock Company Profile|
|Casio Computer||111||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nippon Oil||113||Unlock Company Profile|
|Toyota Motor||382||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung SDI||248||Unlock Company Profile|
|Toto||152||Unlock Company Profile|
|Siemens||160||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hyundai Motor||261||Unlock Company Profile|
|Aisin||78||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nissan Motor||101||Unlock Company Profile|
|CEA||214||Unlock Company Profile|
|Naval Group||92||Unlock Company Profile|
|WATT Fuel Cell||197||Unlock Company Profile|
|NGK Spark Plug||98||Unlock Company Profile|
|Honda Motor||395||Unlock Company Profile|
|Panasonic||2040||Unlock Company Profile|
|Kyocera||290||Unlock Company Profile|
|Saudi Arabian Oil||144||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ballard Power Systems||147||Unlock Company Profile|
|BASF||90||Unlock Company Profile|
|FuelCell Energy||232||Unlock Company Profile|
|Doosan||80||Unlock Company Profile|
|Bloom Energy||96||Unlock Company Profile|
|Osaka Gas||216||Unlock Company Profile|
|Encite||83||Unlock Company Profile|
|Airbus||148||Unlock Company Profile|
|Honeywell International||118||Unlock Company Profile|
|AGC||76||Unlock Company Profile|
|Societe BIC||87||Unlock Company Profile|
|Toshiba||162||Unlock Company Profile|
|Kia||160||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sumitomo Electric Industries||191||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ceres Enterprises||82||Unlock Company Profile|
|AVL List||88||Unlock Company Profile|
|Grove Hydrogen Automotive||87||Unlock Company Profile|
|Mcalister Technologies||114||Unlock Company Profile|
|Renaissance Energy Investment||84||Unlock Company Profile|
|Aquahydrex||83||Unlock Company Profile|
|The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission||369||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Panasonic is the leading patent filer for hydrogen fuel cells, followed by ExxonMobil and Honda Motor. Other key innovators in the space include Toyota Motor, French Alternative, Kyocera, Hyundai Motor, and Samsung.
H2 KIBOU is a cutting-edge pure hydrogen fuel cell generator developed by Panasonic, which emits zero CO2 and has an impressive electrical efficiency of 56%.
In terms of application diversity, AGC leads the pack, followed by Hyundai, Renaissance Energy Investment, and WATT Fuel Cell. By geographic reach, ExxonMobil is the leading patent filer, followed by Renaissance Energy Investment, WATT Fuel Cell, and Encite.
Hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen powered flight looks to have a bright future with the largest benefit of the technology being that it is emission free, and the only by-product is water.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sustainability In Aerospace And Defense.