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Explosion in US Clean Energy Patents

Explosion in US Clean Energy Patents

According to the Department of Energy, the number of clean energy patents granted in the US during a single quarter has reached a new all-time high.  The Clean Energy Patent Growth Index indicated that the second quarter of 2012 saw the most clean energy patents ever granted during a single quarter.  

There were a total of 786 clean energy patents issued during the second quarter of 2012.  The first quarter of 2012 had the record with 694 clean energy patents until topped by the numbers in the second quarter.  These are the highest numbers reported since the Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. started tallying clean energy patents in 2002.  

The monitored categories of patents include wind and solar energy; hybrid and electric transportation; fuel cells; wave power, tidal power, and hydroelectric power; geothermal technologies; biomass and biofuels; and more.  A total of 264 patents were issued for fuel cells.  188 solar patents and 187 wind patents were issued as well.  Toyota was issued the most patents (46).  GE received 43 patents, and General Motors received 30 patents.  

The surge in patents coincides with consumers using more renewable energy technology in 2011.  The increase in renewable energy caused American to use less energy in 2011 compared to 2010 according to the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).  Americans used 98 quadrillion BTUs (“quads”) in 2010 compared to 97.3 quads in 2011.  

Wind accounted for the largest increase in renewable quads in 2011.  Wind generated 1.17 quads in 2011 compared to 0.92 quads in 2010.  Hydroelectric quads jumped from 2.51 quads in 2010 to 3.17 quads in 2011.  The large increase in hydroelectric quads was possible because of large amounts of precipitation through the United States.  The large amount of rain and snow allowed dams to maintain the maximum amount of output while maintaining water levels in reservoirs.  

Source: U.S. Department of Energy