The Heslin Rothenberg firm recently published its Clean Energy Patent Growth Index First Quarter 2013 Results. Always an interesting read, the CEPGI is a quarterly publication that tracks grants of U.S. patents directed to clean energy technologies.
The biggest headline item of the Q1 2013 report is that fuel cell patents, the perennial leader, were nearly eclipsed by solar patents. The number of granted fuel cell patents fell 28 from the 4th quarter of 2012 to 218, and there were 217 solar patents granted in Q1 2013. The report comments:
This one patent difference is the smallest differential on record and suggests that Solar patents are poised to pass Fuel Cell patents. This difference further suggests that investments in Solar technology R&D are reaching a pinnacle despite the slew of bankruptcies and consolidations in the Solar industry.
Wind patents were in third place, with 155, a 15 patent increase from the prior quarter, and Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents were next with 81. There were 48 Biofuel/Biomass patents granted (down 7 from the prior quarter). Tidal patents were up three to 19, and geothermal patents were up one with 8.
The patentee with the most granted green patents in the first quarter of 2013 was General Motors, with 42 (34 fuel cell and 8 hybrid/electric vehicle). Toyota, which was the 2012 leader, had 33 granted green patents. GE was in third place with 30 patents (21 wind), and Mitsubishi took fourth place with 24 patents.
Tied for fifth place were Honda and Samsung, with 22 patents each. The rest of the top ten green patent holders included Vestas, Ford, Repower, Panasonic, and Hyundai.
The CEPGI reports also break out green patent data by geographic location. Japan led ex-U.S. green patent holders and individual U.S. states with 151 patents granted in Q1, and California was in second place with 82. Germany was in third place and Michigan in fourth.
The rest, in declining order, were Korea, New York state, Taiwan, Texas, Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Canada, France, New Jersey, and China.