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The shipping industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increasing global trade and commerce and the need for efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable sea transportation solutions, as well as growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial and augmented intelligence, advanced vessel operation monitoring systems, and hydrogen fuel cells. In the last three years alone, there have been over 67,000 patents filed and granted in the shipping industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental sustainability in Ship: Floating power plants. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 25,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the ship industry, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Floating power plants is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

A floating power plant refers to a power generation facility that operates on a floating platform over the water body. Types of such plants include floating wind, solar and wave power plants, as well as barge-mounted floating nuclear and LNG power plants.

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 20 companies, spanning technology vendors, established shipping companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of floating power plants.

Key players in floating power plants – a disruptive innovation in the shipping industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to floating power plants

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
BW Offshore 16 Unlock Company Profile
GWave 15 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 14 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 12 Unlock Company Profile
Big Moon Power 11 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 11 Unlock Company Profile
Exponential Renewables 10 Unlock Company Profile
Single Buoy Moorings 9 Unlock Company Profile
Naval Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Aerodyn Engineering 8 Unlock Company Profile
China Three Gorges 7 Unlock Company Profile
Power Construction Corporation of China 6 Unlock Company Profile
Floating Windfarmsoration 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Electric Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 5 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 5 Unlock Company Profile
Linnhoff Offshore 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 5 Unlock Company Profile
Federal State Budgetary Institution 5 Unlock Company Profile
X Development 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

BW Ideol (formerly Ideol) is the leading patent filer in floating power plants. The patents filed by the company in this space are related to floating offshore wind power platforms and anchor chains for the same.

Norway-based firm BW Offshore became a strategic owner of Ideol and renamed it as BW Ideol in February 2021. The 2MW Floatgen demonstrator turbine, which has been operating off the coast of Le Croisic in Western France since 2018, is mounted on BW Ideol’s patented Damping Pool® floating foundation.

Other leading innovators in the floating power plants space include GWave, IFP Energies nouvelles, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

In terms of application diversity, Single Buoy Moorings leads the pack, followed by Exponential Renewables and X Development. By geographic reach, GWave is the leading company, followed by Big Moon Power and Exponential Renewables.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the shipping industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Shipping.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.