Where is the patent activity occurring? The statistics are showing a focus on hydrogen innovation for both steam reforming and electrolysis pathways in East Asia, the target export markets for Australia. China and Japan are the largest two filing countries with the United States fitting into third place. The future of Hydrogen in Australia The potential of hydrogen is enormous, and Australia is well positioned to seize Green Hydrogen Patent Trends the opportunities of this emerging industry. Innovations in Australian hydrogen production continue and include the Hazer process which converts methane to solid carbon and hydrogen through a process catalysed by iron oxide and the CSIRO metal membrane technology extracting pure hydrogen from ammonia. Given the opportunities for hydrogen, it would be a positive to see more, and broader based Australian based innovation because it is Australian feedstocks, including natural gas and water, which have the capacity to grow Australia’s future hydrogen production and export capacity. For a copy of the report please visit Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) National Hydrogen Roadmap (2018).
Patents: An Indicator of Growth and Strategy
Hydrogen production via electrolysis from of 2010 to June 2020, showing technology trend
Global patent statistics are showing that both blue and green pathways to hydrogen are capturing increasing industry interest. It should go without saying that industry will not typically spend a significant patent budget on technologies without a future, so patent statistics are a firm indicator of industry strategy. The statistics show an increasing trend for patent publications targeted at hydrogen production via electrolysis and via steam reforming technologies. Both hydrogen production technologies are in even competition and will remain so at least in the short term despite apparently exponential growth in patent filings relating to hydrogen produced by electrolysis. That said, most hydrogen has been industrially produced by steam reforming to date and it is reasonable to expect that this will remain the case until electrolysis costs fall further, which the patent statistics show a drive to achieve. Given the 20-year lifespan of patents, steam reforming technologies, with carbon capture and storage, will likely remain preferred until the earlier part of 2030-40 given the cost projections provided above. More recent electrolytic technology will more likely encounter the time lag that is common to innovation adoption.