Alena Bach
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A quick glance at the patent class on capture and storage of greenhouse gases

First published 21 February 2024 by Alena Bach

In preparation for a lecture on carbon capture at the ETH this spring semester, I took the opportunity to take a closer look at the new CPC patent class Y02C, which is dedicated to capture and storage of greenhouse gases. Here are some key findings:

  • The country with the most patent families published in this class is China, followed by the United States.
  • Notably, China has had more publications per year than the US since 2016, with an even more pronounced difference since 2021 (see chart below).
  • In contrast, the number of patent families published by the EPO has remained more or less constant since 2013.
  • The top assignees worldwide are Air Liquide, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Exxon Mobil Corp and Linde AG.
  • The main applications are in the chemical sector, with around five times as many publications as in the mechanical engineering sector (there seems to be some room for improvement here).

The high number in the US is probably due to the US government's strong investment strategy in carbon capture and greater private funding. China is also set to play a prominent role in promoting green and low-carbon development, and the figures reflect the general trend of a large number of patent applications in China.

It remains to be seen how the patent landscape in Europe will evolve in the coming years.  

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