Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle refueling
Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg/Getty Images
When it comes to hydrogen technology, Japan and the EU are at the forefront.
This is the result of a study by the European Patent Office (EPA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).
According to the study, which considers trends from 2011 to 2020, Japan holds 24 percent of the hydrogen patents, the EU 28 percent and the US 20 percent over that period.
In the EU, Germany is ahead with eleven percent, followed by France with six percent.
While the EU and Japan increased over the ten years under review, US patent registrations declined over the period.
EPA President António Campinos said: "Using the potential of hydrogen is an essential part of the European strategy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050." However, more research is needed, especially with end users of the gas, according to the study.
automotive sector leader
According to the study, chemical and automotive companies filed the most hydrogen patents.
Then came universities and research institutes.
In the automotive sector, companies would be particularly active in the fuel cell and electrolysis sectors.
According to the study, the leading applicants are Japanese and Korean companies, above all Toyota, Hyundai and Honda.
In other industrial applications, the EPA and IEA still see too few innovations.
Hydrogen is needed for heavy industry, for long-distance transport, for ships and airplanes.
In fertilizer production, too, there are hardly any other clean alternatives to fossil fuels, said IEA director Fatih Birol.
Steel production is a ray of hope: the number of patent applications has recently increased here.
The French gas manufacturer Air Liquide and its German-American competitor Linde were ahead in terms of patents for established hydrogen technology.
BASF, Siemens and Bosch are also among the world's leading applicants.
Munich and the Ruhr area are among the world's ten leading areas for hydrogen technology, as is Paris.
In Germany, there are also many registrations from Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Nuremberg.