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: Offshore wind turbine connections.
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.
Offshore wind turbine connections is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Turbines of an offshore wind farm are connected with each other and to an offshore substation by a network of subsea cables, which are also known as inter-array cables.
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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established shipping companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of offshore wind turbine connections.
Key players in offshore wind turbine connections – 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 offshore wind turbine connections
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries||15||Unlock company profile|
|TechnipFMC||13||Unlock company profile|
|Naval Group||12||Unlock company profile|
|Vestas Wind Systems||8||Unlock company profile|
|Ackermans & Van Haaren||7||Unlock company profile|
|Engineering Business||6||Unlock company profile|
|Royal IHC||6||Unlock company profile|
|Floating Windfarmsoration||6||Unlock company profile|
|LOGIMA||6||Unlock company profile|
|Heerema International Group Services||5||Unlock company profile|
|General Electric||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is the leading patent filer in offshore wind turbine connections. The company built the SUBARU cable layer, which is a large cable laying vessel equipped with the dynamic positioning (DP system), a plough-type burying machine, and cable laying support system. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also completed the basic design of a self-fleeting cable drum engine in 2022.
Other leading innovators in the offshore wind turbine connections space include TechnipFMC, Naval Group, and Vestas Wind Systems.
In terms of application diversity, The Engineering Business leads the pack, followed by Ackermans & Van Haaren and General Electric. By geographic reach, Vestas Wind Systems is the leading company, followed by TechnipFMC and LOGIMA.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the shipping industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Shipping.