Posts Tagged: "green patents"

The Future of CleanTech Patents

The number of U.S. patents granted for clean energy technology has recently dropped following a near 10-year period of growth. In fact, according to the Brookings Institute, the number of CleanTech patents granted in the country fell by a whopping nine percent between 2014 and 2016. When the economy picks up and things shift again, energy patents should be able to move forward, but for now, the uncertainty with the current Trump administration has brought things to a complete standstill.

Slump in Clean Energy Patents Causes Concern

As of late, the spike of clean energy technology innovation is slowing down in the United States, during a time that the Trump administration is aiming to drastically cut government research spending in the industry… The slump in clean energy patents is a direct result of the downturn in oil and gas prices, according to Morico. “When oil was trading at over $100 per barrel just before the crash in 2014, there was a lot of investment going into renewable/clean energy. After the prices of oil crashed, investors started cutting back their investments in renewable/clean energy because the costs of many of these technologies couldn’t compete with low oil and gas prices,” he explained.

Florida algal blooms put focus on phosphorus depletion and ultrasonic wave tech

Algal blooms are caused when algae living in seas or freshwater grow uncontrollably because of the presence of nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen; high temperatures and the underwater penetration of light also play roles in the process. Public health costs, however, are dwarfed by the price tag which algal blooms can put on industries requiring clean water, such as seafood, tourism and restaurants. Every year, harmful algal blooms (HABs), the toxic variety currently seen in Florida, cost about $82 million in lost economic output according to statistics published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Last year, algal blooms on the West Coast caused beaches in Washington State to close, preventing razor clamming at an estimated economic cost of $9 million over one month.

In the global race for Electric Vehicle innovation, America tops Japan for first place

When looking specifically at patents that specifically mention “electric vehicles,” it looks as though there are reasons to feel good about America’s place in the world. Both Ford and General Motors Company are atop the leaderboard in this sector, placing first and second overall respectively. One Ford technology developed to allow electric vehicle owners to make sure that electricity drawn from a vehicle comes from renewable sources is outlined within U.S. Patent No. 9024571, entitled ‘Charging of Electric Vehicles Based on Historical Clean Energy Profiles.’ General Motors is hoping to change the perception that Electric Vehicles are capable of only short range use, as evident by recently issued U.S. Patent No. 9002552, titled “Compact Electric Range Extender for an Electric Vehicle.”

Sustainable, green aviation and the pursuit of fuel alternatives

Fuels derived from biomass are not the only option being pursued to solve the problem of switching away from petroleum-based fossil fuels, or at least getting more mileage from those fuels. U.S. Patent Application No. 20140339367, titled Efficient Low Carbon Emission Airplane Integrating Jet Fuel and Cryogenic Fuel Systems, would protect a hybrid fuel airplane having at least one cryogenic fuel tank conforming to the airplane body’s outer mold line as well as a jet fuel tank located in the airplane’s wing. This configuration, developed by the Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) of Chicago, IL, would introduce the use of cryogenic fuels, which are fuels that require storage at extremely low temperatures in order to remain in a liquid state. Cryogenic fuels could be attractive for the airline industry because they create low emission levels and possess a high energy density per mass unit of fuel. One challenge, however, is that cryogenic fuels require large volume tanks because they have a low volumetric energy density per liter. It is because of these benefits and challenges that Boeing is pursuing alternative airplane designs to accommodate for the use of cryogenic fuels.

Tesla unveils energy storage for a sustainable home, retains open source stance on patents

Tesla’s Powerwall batteries will come in two varieties: one a 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) version for a weekly cycle unit designed for backup applications, the other a 7 kWh unit for everyday use. The batteries can be installed in groups of up to nine, providing a maximum of 90 kWh hours of backup energy (or 63 kWh of energy available daily). The dimensions of the Powerwall battery are about four feet tall and nearly three feet wide; its slender 7.1 inches of depth and sleek design gives it a form which fits neatly on most walls, inside or out. It can be installed in an afternoon and does not need major home rewiring. The 10 kWh model costs $3,500 ($3,000 for the 7 kWh version) although a homeowner must pay for installation and an inverter if the property includes solar panels.

Biofuel Innovations Look to Sustainably Fuel the Future

Although the consequences posed by climate change could be dire, there’s no reason to believe that human ingenuity and innovation cannot provide a path forward to answer these challenges… Methods of developing fuel from biological sources on the earth is often a less energy-intensive process than mining for oil or natural gas deep below the earth’s crust, further reducing the production energy required and, subsequently, the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. Private sector investment in biofuels has been increasing. In 2012, bio-based chemicals and biofuels were responsible for $96 billion in U.S. business-to-business economic activity, according to the National Research Council. Near the end of March, Colorado-based Red Rock Biofuels recently announced a $200 million biofuels refinery that it would be operating in Lakeview, Oregon; the facility will refine pine needles and sawdust into a jet fuel that will be used by Southwest Airlines.

Japan Automakers Focus on Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles & Collision Warning

The most recent patent applications published show that development of electric and hybrid electric vehicles are prominent among all three. Some of these patent applications describe novel applications of known energy generation and storage technologies, including air batteries and solar cells, to automobile environments. Self-driving cars manufactured by Toyota will benefit from a technology designed to improve the accuracy of determining a car’s actual location on the road. These three corporations each have strong patent portfolios which have increased in recent weeks and we took special notice of a couple of patents issued in the field of fuel cell technologies. Honda has earned the right to protect an indoor vehicle that drives in response to the tilting motion of a seated rider. We also feature two patents directed towards safety systems which are designed to provide warnings to drivers in response to potential road hazards.

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.

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.

For a Greener Footprint: Innovating to Capture Carbon Dioxide

Although carbon capture technologies exist, the scale of carbon dioxide that needs to be drawn from the atmosphere to combat the effects of climate change is very discouraging. We seem to be many years, if not decades, away from any realistically deployable solution. Nevertheless, we wanted to wrap up our coverage of Earth Day 2014 at IPWatchdog, albeit a little bit late, with a look at developments in this very important technological field. To do this we profile recently published patent applications found in our search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database, focusing on carbon capture and mitigation technologies.

Innovation Focus: Water Treatment & Desalination

We’ve noticed a great deal of inventions that involve desalination techniques to turn saline water containing a lot of salts into fresh, drinkable water. Desalination is capable of reducing salinity in water from 35,000 ppm, the typical salinity of ocean water, to 1,000 ppm, and many of these innovations are designed to help people apply desalination techniques on a wider scale at lower costs. We’ve also noticed some developments that might help communities derive water from sources other than rivers and streams, such as the atmosphere. As I conducted my research I was struck by how many of these inventions for creating clean water involved other recycling or sustainable technologies, addressing many environmental concerns through one novel system or apparatus.

University Research Leads to Biofuel Breakthrough

Exciting new innovations being patented and licensed by American universities may provide some effective answers to issues that have been vexing biofuel developers for years. Wilkerson described the breakthrough in Science, explaining that poplars can be specifically designed for deconstruction. “Poplars are dense, easy to store, and the flourish on marginal lands not suitable for food crops, making them a non-competing and sustainable source of biofuel,” said Wilkerson. According to Jennifer Gottwald, a licensing manager with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the basic technology applied here to poplar trees could used in a variety of other plant life, even grasses.

Earth Day 2014: A Salute to Recycling Innovations

Today is Earth Day 2014, and with that in mind we will be taking some time today and throughout the week to take some time to look at the progress of sustainable, environmentally friendly technologies… We’ve searched the recently published patent applications and issued patents coming out of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find the most unique innovations in the realm of recycling technologies. We’ve found an assortment regarding novel systems for improving retrieval of recyclable material, as well as new systems of recycling existing waste products… We also found some recently issued patents related to recycling technologies including a couple of original systems for recyclable collection, including one method of shredding mixed waste to remove glass, metal and other recyclables, as well as new methods of recycling disposable materials, such as artificial bait.

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.