The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by governmental regulations, environmental safety and public health concerns and growing importance of technologies such as onboard refuelling vapour recovery, which captures fuel vapour produced during refuelling and burns it during regular operation. Onboard refuelling vapour recovery contributes to 95% reduction in hydrocarbon emissions. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.2 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Automotive: Adsorptive vapour recovery system. 

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity. 

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have. 

290+ innovations will shape the automotive industry 

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the automotive industry using innovation intensity models built on over 619,000 patents, there are 290+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Within the emerging innovation stage, eccentric crankshaft gears, retarder brake systems, and closed-circuit liquid cooling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Bio-fuel ICEs, electromagnetic valve actuators, and road friction estimation are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are tyre bead fillers and vehicle turbochargers, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the automotive industry 

Adsorptive vapour recovery system is a key innovation area in automotive 

Vapour recovery systems are devices that prevent fuel vapours from escaping into the atmosphere by collecting the vapours of gasoline and other fuels. The vapours are transformed into liquid fuel and once more pumped into the tank. The technique is mostly used with large storage tanks where the gas vapour emission is significant. 

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of adsorptive vapour recovery system. 

Key players in adsorptive vapour recovery system – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry  

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators. 

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to adsorptive vapour recovery system

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Aisan Industry 143 Unlock company profile
Mahle 68 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 35 Unlock company profile
Toyota Boshoku 33 Unlock company profile
Futaba Industrial 32 Unlock company profile
Kuraray 30 Unlock company profile
Ingevity 24 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 24 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 23 Unlock company profile
Textron 22 Unlock company profile
Kia 21 Unlock company profile
Denso 20 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 20 Unlock company profile
A. Kayser Automotive Systems 19 Unlock company profile
BASF 15 Unlock company profile
TI Fluid Systems 13 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 13 Unlock company profile
Nippon Paper Industries 12 Unlock company profile
Korea Fuel-Tech 12 Unlock company profile
MANN+HUMMEL International 11 Unlock company profile
Donaldson 10 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 9 Unlock company profile
Osaka Gas 8 Unlock company profile
CIR – Compagnie Industriali Riunite 8 Unlock company profile
BorgWarner 7 Unlock company profile
Stellantis 6 Unlock company profile
Eaton 5 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Motors 5 Unlock company profile
Aisin 5 Unlock company profile
Cabot 5 Unlock company profile
Fram Group Ip 5 Unlock company profile
Sentec E&E 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Aisan Industry is one of the top players in adsorptive vapour recovery system segment. Aisan Industry has filed 143 patents for technology advancement of adsorptive vapour recovery system. Another prominent company, Geely, filed a patent for an onboard refuelling vapour recovery system, which consists of a carbon canister and a backup carbon canister filled with activated carbon. Other companies in adsorptive vapour recovery systems are Mahle, Hyundai Motor Group and Futaba Industrial. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article. 

 GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.