The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the future limited reserve of fossil fuels, a deteriorating environment, and growing importance of technologies such as hydrogen injection systems for internal combustion engines and engine calibrators, which will help in improving fuel efficiency and mixing of fuel and air in combustion chamber. 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 Environmental sustainability in Automotive: Bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors

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, EV discharge prediction, fuel cell ion exchange membranes, and hydrogen ICE fuel tanks are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. V2G smart metering, silicon-air batteries, and zeolites for exhaust filtering are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are HEV propulsion systems and wind-powered vehicles, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the automotive industry 

Bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability 

Fuel injection refers to the introduction of fuel using an injector into an internal combustion engine, most frequently an automobile engine. Limited reserves of fossil fuels and a deteriorating environment are increasing the need to replace fossil fuels with biofuels. Bio-fuels are produced from renewable organic material and have the potential to reduce harmful aspects of using fossil fuels such as including their dependence on unreliable foreign suppliers, exhaustible resource depletion, and conventional and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollutant emissions. Bio-fuel injectors can be defined as tools to inject bio-fuels into an ICE through various ways such as single-point fuel injection, multi-point fuel injection, sequential fuel injection, and direct injection. Among all the ways, direct injectors are the most commonly used and the most efficient. 

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 bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors. 

Key players in bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors – 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 bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Ford Motor 100 Unlock company profile
Korea Development Bank 88 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 83 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 77 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 57 Unlock company profile
Yanmar Holdings 45 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 43 Unlock company profile
AB Volvo 37 Unlock company profile
Halliburton 33 Unlock company profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 33 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 33 Unlock company profile
YANMAR POWER TECHNOLOGY 26 Unlock company profile
General Motors 25 Unlock company profile
Wartsila 24 Unlock company profile
Kia 21 Unlock company profile
Caterpillar 19 Unlock company profile
AC 17 Unlock company profile
Gates Industrial 14 Unlock company profile
Fortive 13 Unlock company profile
Denso 12 Unlock company profile
Mitsui E&S Holdings 12 Unlock company profile
EXEN Holdings 12 Unlock company profile
Chevron U. S. A 12 Unlock company profile
IHI 10 Unlock company profile
Keihin 10 Unlock company profile
Motonic 10 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 9 Unlock company profile
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group 8 Unlock company profile
Hitachi Zosen 8 Unlock company profile
Westport Power 8 Unlock company profile
Isuzu Motors 7 Unlock company profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 7 Unlock company profile
Mazda Motor 7 Unlock company profile
Corning 7 Unlock company profile
Continental 7 Unlock company profile
Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha 6 Unlock company profile
Aisan Industry 6 Unlock company profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Ford Motor is one of the leading patent filers in Bio-fuel ICE fuel injectors. It was the first automaker in the world to start the production of its dedicated hydrogen-fueled 6.8-liter V-10 engine. Ford also developed next-generation hydrogen ICE, which had features such as direct injection to enhance power and fuel economy. Some other major patent filers in the industry are Porsche Automobil Holding, Toyota Motor, and Honda Motor

To further understand how environmental sustainability is 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.