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The shipping industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by 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: Tidal energy generators. 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.

Tidal energy generator is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Tidal and wave energy are forms of renewable energy that are obtained from the rise and fall of tides and waves. Tidal energy can be harnessed with the use of underwater turbines or paddles in tidal streams, barrages, or tidal lagoons, whereas the wave energy generation often involves the use of floats that rise and fall with the waves to convert the kinetic energy into electricity.

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 tidal energy generators.

Key players in tidal energy generators – 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 tidal energy generators

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
General Electric 24 Unlock Company Profile
Naval Group 22 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 22 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Steel 15 Unlock Company Profile
GWave 15 Unlock Company Profile
Iberdrola 12 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Development Bank 12 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 12 Unlock Company Profile
Big Moon Power 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
POSCO Holdings 6 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
Siemens 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 5 Unlock Company Profile
TechnipFMC 5 Unlock Company Profile
Federal State Budgetary Institution 5 Unlock Company Profile
X Development 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

GWave, a wave energy developer based in the US, is one of the top patent filers in the tidal energy generators space. It filed patents related to a vessel-based system for producing energy through the action of waves.

The company focussed on developing its Power Generation Vessel (PGV) technology, an innovative wave energy device, which is a floating sealed tube containing large weights that roll on tracks. As the vessel pitches upward and downward with the rise and fall of waves, the kinetic energy of the rolling weights is converted into electricity.

In February 2017, GWave announced to develop a 9MW wave energy project based on its PGV technology at Wave Hub, a wave energy testing facility located off the coast of Cornwall in England.

Other leading innovators in the tidal energy generators space include General Electric, Naval Group, and Samsung Heavy Industries.

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

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.