Over 140 carbon capture patent filings were filed in 2020, a new report prepared by intellectual property company Appleyard Lees shows. The Inside Green Innovation: Progress Report 2022 sees a 60% increase from 2015, and predicts further growth between 2021 and 2022.
The firm’s research indicated that the number and scale of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects worldwide are increasing, including new storage site activity in the North Sea, said patent attorney Sarah Gibbs, a senior associate at Appleyard Lees.
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According to the Progress Report 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act, which president Joe Biden signed earlier this year is likely to increase the planned carbon storage capacity in the U.S. and incentivize further innovation in smaller-scale CCUS projects.
Former UK chief scientific advisor Sir David King told The Engineer that the technology to remove CO2 is still limited, with few pilot projects in place.
“It would probably take us to the end of the century even if we were to remove 30 billion tonnes a year,” King said. “Now, there’s your big engineering challenge. Can we remove that amount of greenhouse gases? And globally we’re emitting about 40 billion tonnes, right? So the balance is in the wrong direction.”
50% of the priority patents filed in 2020 were in the field of direct air capture (DAC), Appleyard Lees reported. Climeworks, which is among the leaders in DAC, established its Orca direct air capture and storage site last year and announced plans for its Mammoth plant in 2022.
Technological improvements and innovations will bring up global interest in carbon capture, and accelerate its industrialization, said Ashley Wragg, patent attorney at Appleyard Lees. Natural direct air capture methods, like using algae, for example, are also attracting interest from large companies, she added.
The report also researched the global patent activity for hydrogen and reported that the highest number of patent filings for green H2 in 2020 came from Europe, followed by South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.
Read more: Climeworks To Achieve Multi-Megaton Carbon Removal Capacity By 2040