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Posts Tagged: "alternative energy"

Toyota Motors One-Ups Tesla, Makes Thousands of Royalty-Free Patents Available

Toyota is attempting to boost collaborative innovation in the field of vehicle fuel cell technologies by opening up thousands of patents for royalty-free use by other automakers. On January 6th, the corporation announced that it would enable cost-free licensing for 5,680 of its patents. Toyota is hoping that the decision will encourage wider development of hydrogen technologies for vehicles over the next few years.

Panasonic invents – wireless charging to alternative energy solutions

Panasonic has patented some intriguing developments in the area of wireless charging systems, including one technology that encourages better heat dissipation in instances where large electrical loads are transmitted. Another patent protects a system of automatically collecting lifestyle information based on the interactions between a person and objects within a space. Readers may also be interested in the organic light-emitting diode display and compressed gas vehicle technologies reflected in patents which we’ve shared today. We also noticed a major focus on medical innovations in Panasonic patent applications. One of these discusses an improved orthodontic device for improving tooth alignment with vibration forces. Another patent application would protect a biochip having a stronger diaphragm section to work as a filtration device. Sustainable technologies which we feature include a system for removing carbon dioxide from a source as well as an improved configuration for fuel cells used in home energy systems.

Department of Energy Pumps Money into Offshore Wind Energy

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, there is a potential 4.15 gigawatts of energy which can be collected from offshore wind collection around the country’s waters. The total electric generating capacity of the entire nation was 1.01 gigawatts as of 2008. All of this energy can be collected from waters within 50 nautical miles of America’s shorelines… Offshore wind farms face unique problems in seafloor depth and corrosion from ocean water which can cause higher operational costs in the form of maintenance team transport and replacement components. Offshore wind technology development projects are needed to develop tools for engineering modeling and analysis which can spur further innovation and lower the facility costs for offshore projects.

Patented Technology for a Hydrogen Economy

In this follow-up piece, we focus on recently patented technologies that deal with all aspects of hydrogen generation and the use of hydrogen fuels. We begin our discussion with a trio of patents related to various processes of hydrogen generation. Storing and transportation of hydrogen has been cited as an issue for more implementation of hydrogen technologies, which is why we were happy to include a couple of patents aimed at solving these problems. Methods for refilling hydrogen fuel cells and a couple of technologies for recovering greenhouse gases created by hydrogen generation processes are also discussed below.

Increase Renewable Energy with Better Hydrogen Storage Tech

Before widespread application of hydrogen in electrical utilities can be addressed, however, a number of shortcomings have yet to be solved. Although hydrogen can be derived from a number of sources, most of the world’s current hydrogen manufacture requires natural gas, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Natural gas is still a fossil fuel and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when combusted for these processes. Storing and transportation of hydrogen is also very important as hydrogen, compared to other fuels, has a low energy for its volume even though it has a high energy for its weight. The ability to store and transport hydrogen in cost-effective ways is currently a stumbling block on the path towards greater use of this alternative energy carrier in electrical systems.

GE Patents: Patents of Note: Medical Inventions & Alternative Energy Systems

General Electric has been awash in recently issued patents pertaining to medical technologies, and we discuss an intriguing collection of these inventions. One patent protects an improved anaesthesia delivery system that monitors oxygen levels in patients undergoing anaesthesia. Another protects a system for recognizing family relationships among patients for better tracking of medical histories. Finally, we look at a couple of patents protecting technologies for energy generation systems, including one protecting a method of monitoring communication networks in wind farms to quickly identify network issues which need to be fixed for accurate energy production reporting.

Panasonic Invention Increases Efficiency, Reduces Fuel Cell Waste

Fuel cell technologies have become a bigger focus in our world as we seek to get away from fossil fuel emissions, and today’s featured patent application looks to take a big step in that direction. This technology improves the strength of seals within fuel cells, improving the efficient use of fuel gases for energy generation. Other intriguing patent applications we discuss today involve some novel medical device technologies as well as improved lighting arrays for light-emitting diodes and electroluminescence systems. Panasonic is a heavyweight in the world of patent protections, and it has recently been issued dozens of patents protecting its electronic products. One patent we discuss relates to methods of improving music playback in electronic devices when an incoming phone call is registered. Another interesting patent relates to portable beds in medical facilities which can easily transport patients from room to room. We also noticed a couple of patents again related to various lighting technologies developed by this corporation.

Solar Energy Hurdles: Cost and Software Patent Chaos

Deriving energy from the sun has been aggressively, albeit periodically, pursued since at least the 1970s when the U.S. suffered through several gas shortages. But over time gas prices decreased, the technology could not compete with cheap alternatives, so interest waned, although it never thoroughly disappeared… The Obama Administration, which seems exceptionally cozy with Google, seems to have real disdain for software patents, which is the Google articulated position. Thus, it is hard to reconcile the Obama Administration positions that are in favor of alternative energy but which are also against the patent eligibility of software. So many alternative energy innovations today and in the future will incorporate software.

University Patents: Focus on the University of California System

One patent application discusses a solar collector that is low in price while providing sun tracking capabilities. Additionally, a number of applications and issued patents we cover today deal with human sensory or biomedical developments. One patent application describes a system of using porous film to delivery medication to the eye. A recently issued patent protects a system of detecting heart arrhythmias without invasive ablation procedures. Another patent application would protect a method for sampling aromatic compounds to determine their chemical composition and a person’s olfactory response to segments of the aromatic compound.

The Energy and Environmental Innovation Conundrum: Can the Patent System Protect New Ways of Using Old Technologies?

The field of clean or green technology is one of those areas where innovation is desperately needed if our planet Earth is to survive as a place where all living things can thrive. But what if a “new” and needed technology is not really new, but rather a new way of doing something which builds on a known (and patented technology where the exclusive protection period has expired)? And, what if the “new” technology cannot find its way to market (i.e. real-world application) unless there is funding? And, what if that funding requires some type of market exclusivity (such as patent protection) be in place first?

Fuel Cells and Bayh-Dole: The Pursuit of a Hydrogen Energy

HyperSolar, Inc. has developed a technology that they claim will produce hydrogen that is renewable and utilizes natural power sources: sunlight and water. Who knows whether the HyperSolar/UC technology will ultimately lead to the dawn of a hydrogen energy economy. What we do know is that without the forward-thinking legislation that gives Universities incentive to partner with the private sector there would be no such potential. As alluring as alternative, cheap, clean energy is, efforts to get from where we are to where we ultimately need to go will be extremely expensive and the research highly speculative. Such high cost and extremely speculative research is realistically only carried out by Universities.

Nobel Prize Scientist Not Enough for Bankrupt Solar Company

Just because a company has a patent portfolio and interesting technology does not mean that the portfolio, or the company behind the portfolio, will be able to tap into the “perfect storm” we are seeing in certain high-tech industries. “I’m not seeing how the Konarka situation exemplifies the ‘Perfect Storm Effect’ at the upper end of the current patent market,” Laurie says. “On the demand side, the multi-billion dollar portfolio valuations in the mobile device and social media markets are being driven by huge, and ever expanding, consumer demand, and large gross margins neither of which factors would seem to apply to solar.”

Technology Solutions: In Support of a Clean Energy Economy

As global demand for energy continues to grow and the price of oil and gasoline continue to rise we must pursue solutions for cleaner, renewable energy. The technology that will ultimately support an alternative energy driven economy is not where we want it to be, if we do not aggressively pursue such technologies and build on early stage successes we will never get to the finish line. Complaining about the fact that the finish line is so far away and the technology incapable of providing a solution today is exceptionally myopic. Nothing worth doing is ever easy and without taking critical first steps the final celebratory steps are simply impossible to take.

Obama Press Conference Address Oil and Renewable Energy

Little impacts cascading together can have a large impact, but for the time being we need to realize that the technology is not where it needs to be to leverage alternative and renewable energy in an impactful way. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but it does mean we need to be perfectly honest with ourselves and realize that a silver-bullet green technology is unlikely. In the meantime as we incentivize innovators we need an all-of-the-above series of solutions.

USPTO Extends Green Technology Pilot Program Through 2011

Currently, the average time between the approval of a green technology petition and the first action on an application is just 49 days. In several cases, patent applications in the green technology program have been issued within a year of the filing date. Earlier patenting of these technologies can help inventors to secure funding, create businesses, and bring vital green technologies to market much sooner. In fact, since the pilot program began in December 2009, a total of 790 petitions have been granted to green technology patent applicants, with 94 patents having already been issued.