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. Buy the report here.

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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 - 2022) 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.

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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.