Fuel Cell Patents: twenty years of progress?

This data-file tabulates the numbers of patents filed into different types of fuel-cells, from 2000-2020, globally and in key geographies: China, Japan, Korea and the US.

Research activity peaked in 2008 and has since fallen by 30%, as Japanese research into Solid Oxide fuel cells and Proton Exchange Membranes both declined by 75%; however China’s research has ascended and comprises 65% of the patent filings from 2019.

In particular, we focus in upon 2,350 patents filed by well-known companies in the fuel cell industry (e.g., Ballard, Bloom, Ceres, Giner, ITM, Plug Power), to evaluate which companies have the most IP in the industry, who has been accelerating and who is being overtaken (chart below).

We also focus in upon Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells, tabulating 120 patents into this reactor design, including descriptions of each patent and a categorization by company.

An overview of different fuel cell types is provided as an introduction to the topic.