The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for achieving higher fuel efficiency, and enhanced driving experience, and growing importance of technologies such as electric, connected and autonomous vehicles. 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: Fuel cell ion exchange membranes. Buy the report here.
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
Fuel cell ion exchange membranes is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
The proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), also referred to as the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEM), is a kind of fuel cell that is being developed as an alternative to batteries. These fuel cells can be utilised for applications in automotive as well as stationary fuel-cell applications and portable fuel-cell applications.
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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of fuel cell ion exchange membranes.
Key players in fuel cell ion exchange membranes – 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 fuel cell ion exchange membranes
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Fujifilm Holdings||118||Unlock company profile|
|Kolon||99||Unlock company profile|
|Panasonic||96||Unlock company profile|
|Hyundai Motor Group||71||Unlock company profile|
|FuelCell Energy||67||Unlock company profile|
|Kia||53||Unlock company profile|
|NACCO Materials Handling Group||45||Unlock company profile|
|AGC||42||Unlock company profile|
|CEA||42||Unlock company profile|
|Toray Industries||40||Unlock company profile|
|Kolon Industries||40||Unlock company profile|
|Sumitomo Electric Industries||39||Unlock company profile|
|Toyota Motor||37||Unlock company profile|
|Renaissance Energy Investment||34||Unlock company profile|
|Siemens||32||Unlock company profile|
|BASF||30||Unlock company profile|
|Meditor European Master Fund||27||Unlock company profile|
|Hyet Holding B V||26||Unlock company profile|
|ITM Power||25||Unlock company profile|
|Evoqua Water Technologies||24||Unlock company profile|
|LG||23||Unlock company profile|
|Kraton||23||Unlock company profile|
|Nissan Motor||22||Unlock company profile|
|Honeywell International||20||Unlock company profile|
|Council of Scientific and Industrial Research||18||Unlock company profile|
|Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique||18||Unlock company profile|
|Robert Bosch Stiftung||16||Unlock company profile|
|Linde||16||Unlock company profile|
|Compagnie Generale des Etablissements Michelin||15||Unlock company profile|
|ThyssenKrupp||15||Unlock company profile|
|Societe BIC||14||Unlock company profile|
|Core Energy Recovery Solutions||14||Unlock company profile|
|Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung||12||Unlock company profile|
|Membrion||11||Unlock company profile|
|Unique Global Possibilities Medical||11||Unlock company profile|
|Honda Motor||11||Unlock company profile|
|Nuvera Fuel Cells||10||Unlock company profile|
|Mercedes-Benz Group||10||Unlock company profile|
|Samsung SDI||10||Unlock company profile|
|Naval Group||10||Unlock company profile|
|Breton||10||Unlock company profile|
|Shandong Huaxia Shenzhou New Materials Company||10||Unlock company profile|
|Mahle||9||Unlock company profile|
|Forschungszentrum Julich||9||Unlock company profile|
|TDK||9||Unlock company profile|
|General Motors||9||Unlock company profile|
|Electricite de France||9||Unlock company profile|
|Enapter||8||Unlock company profile|
|Nitto Denko||8||Unlock company profile|
|JGC Holdings||8||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Fujifilm is a leading patent filer in the fuel cell ion exchange membranes market with 118 patent applications. The company created a membrane portfolio to meet the needs of its customers, ranging from low electrical resistance membranes to low water permeating membranes with durability over a broad pH range. Kolon, Panasonic and Hyundai are a few of the top companies that are filing patents in the same field.
To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Automotive.