Global carbon capture patents for the respective carbon capture and storage technologies have seen a dramatic increase over the last few years. They rose by 22% to 203 in 2021 versus 167 in 2020. That is in comparison to just 62 CCS patents registered five years ago.
The research is being done by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO that concludes the increase in the figures reflects the growing recognition that carbon capture and storage could have a major role in addressing climate change.
“Innovation is accelerating as companies look for ways to reduce their carbon emissions and recognize that they will only be able to properly monetize any technologies if they are patented,” according to David Bevan, corporate finance director at BDO.
The largest number of carbon capture patents have been registered in China, which was responsible for 81% of global patents last year. The US came in second place with 9%, while the UK only accounted for two patents over the same period – just 1% of the total.
China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon emissions, followed by the US, and is responsible for over half of the world’s coal power generation. The intense negotiations during the COP26 Conference in Glasgow managed to make the country “phase down” coal production, rather than “phase out”. That was considered one of the failures of the summit in its purpose to ensure more robust commitments towards reducing carbon emissions.
The world’s increasing deployment of carbon capture technologies is an important measure towards mitigating climate change. While many oil and gas companies are diversifying into renewables investments, they still remain reliant on fossil fuels for the time being. The CCS technologies would allow for fossil fuels to continue to be used while also reducing their emissions which is something businesses are interested in.