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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: Offshore wind turbine installation. 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.

Offshore wind turbine installation is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

The installation of offshore wind turbines involves the transportation and assembly of multiple parts and the erection of wind turbines at sea. Offshore wind turbine installation is performed by specialised vessels that come equipped with top-range cranes and advanced jacking systems and are suitable for the transport and installation of foundations and wind turbines.

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 installation.

Key players in offshore wind turbine installation – 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 installation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Naval Group 22 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 21 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Steel 15 Unlock Company Profile
Iberdrola 12 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 12 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 11 Unlock Company Profile
Exponential Renewables 10 Unlock Company Profile
Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology 10 Unlock Company Profile
Aerodyn Engineering 10 Unlock Company Profile
Single Buoy Moorings 9 Unlock Company Profile
BW Offshore 8 Unlock Company Profile
Axis Energy Projects 7 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 7 Unlock Company Profile
Floating Windfarmsoration 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Electric Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ackermans & Van Haaren 5 Unlock Company Profile
Linnhoff Offshore 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 5 Unlock Company Profile
Federal State Budgetary Institution 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is one of the leading patent filers in offshore wind turbine installation. The patents filed by the company in this space are related to offshore wind turbine installation vessels and wind turbine offshore installation methods using semi-submersible type floating substructure.

Other leading innovators in the offshore wind turbine installation space include Naval Group, General Electric, and Iberdrola.

In terms of application diversity, Samsung Heavy Industries leads the pack, followed by Axis Energy Projects and Iberdrola. By geographic reach, Nippon Steel is the leading company, followed by Exponential Renewables and Single Buoy Moorings.

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.