There were a record number of patents granted to the US clean energy sector in the second quarter of 2012, according to results from law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C.’s Clean Energy Patent Growth Index.
According to the CEPGI, which provides an indication of the trend of innovative activity in the clean energy sector, there were 786 granted US patents in the clean energy sector, which is the highest quarterly total since tracking of the CEPGI began in 2002, and the fourth consecutive record-breaking quarter. This quarter tops the previous record set in Q1 2012 by 92 granted patents, along with being up 249 over the second quarter of last year.
Fuel cell patents were 32 up from the first quarter, at 264, and were up 59 over a year prior. Solar patents continued to dominate the remaining components of the CEPGI at 211, up 23 over the previous quarter at 188 and up 89 over the second quarter of 2011. Solar’s closest competitor, wind, which logged 187 patents, was up 30 patents over the second quarter and up 74 patents relative to the same period last year.
The surge by solar patents in the last two quarters comes after solar and wind were tied in the fourth quarter of last year. Hybrid/electric vehicle patents, at 65, rose 3 patents and were up 18 compared to the second quarter of 2011. Biomass/biofuel patents, at 36, were up 13 from the first quarter of this year and almost doubled relative to the second quarter of 2011. Hydroelectric patents, at 6, were up one compared to the previous quarter while being up two compared to a year prior.
Toyota recorded the most patents for the second quarter running. The firm recorded 46 clean energy patents in Q2 2012, down three from the previous period, according to CEPGI. Toyota’s patents were primarily in fuel cells at 32, with an assist from hybrid/electric vehicle patents at 14. GE recorded 43 patents of which 39 were wind power-related. GE led companies securing US patents for clean energy technologies in 2011.
For Environmental Leader’s earlier coverage of CEPGI click here.