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Desalination Technologies and the Use of Alternative Energies for Desalination - Patent Landscape Report

Desalination Technologies and the Use of Alternative Energies for Desalination - Patent Landscape Report

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Access to clean water is a basic human need, but is also an important driver of social and economic development. One of the ways to improve water availability is through desalination, but most plants currently in operation worldwide use very energy intensive desalination methods. Desalination has therefore traditionally been considered too expensive. However, the use of renewable energies could provide a more affordable alternative, principally in developing and least developed countries.

This patent landscape report on desalination-related patents identified 4551 patent families (including utility models) that claim inventions related to desalination of water, and 921 families describing the combination of desalination technologies with the use of renewable energies. Based on this patent collection various patterns of patenting activity and innovation in the area of desalination are detected, with a separate focus on the use of renewable energies for desalination.
Access to clean water is a basic human need, but is also an important driver of social and economic development. One of the ways to improve water availability is through desalination, but most plants currently in operation worldwide use very energy intensive desalination methods. Desalination has therefore traditionally been considered too expensive. However, the use of renewable energies could provide a more affordable alternative, principally in developing and least developed countries.

This patent landscape report on desalination-related patents identified 4551 patent families (including utility models) that claim inventions related to desalination of water, and 921 families describing the combination of desalination technologies with the use of renewable energies. Based on this patent collection various patterns of patenting activity and innovation in the area of desalination are detected, with a separate focus on the use of renewable energies for desalination.

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01/08/2016

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In the wind energy desalination subspace, the IPC code for wind motors (F03D) has
displaced that of separation techniques from the second position (see Figure 16). If we
considerFigure 17, it is clear that this is due to a spike in activity in this space in 2002.
Upon closer investigation, we have found that this is due to two large patent families
(WO02063165A1 and WO02097265A1) by wind turbine manufacturer Aerodyn, which
has developed an integrated wind energy desalination system. The high ranking of F04B
(which deals with pumps) in this dataset is an indicator of the direct integration option of
wind energy desalination systems, where the pressure generated by the wind turbine is
used directly to pump water through the desalination system.

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10

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ALL
FAMILIES

C02F

F03D

B01D

F04B

F03G

Nr of families from 2006 -2011

Nr of families up to 2006

Nr of patentfamilies

IPC

Description

C02F

TREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE;

F03D

WIND MOTORS;

B01D

PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL: SEPARATION

F04B

POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; PUMPS;

F03G

SPRING, WEIGHT, INERTIA, OR LIKE MOTORS; MECHANICAL-POWER-PRODUCING DEVICES OR MECHANISMS, NOT
OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR OR USING ENERGY SOURCES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR;

Figure 16: Desalination–wind energy integration – number of patent families in top
5 IPC codes

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Number of IPC occurancess

F03D

C02F

B01D

F03G

Note: Publication of patent applicationscan have up to an 18 month lag from date of submission

IPC

Description

C02F

TREATMENT OF WATER, WASTE WATER, SEWAGE, OR SLUDGE;

F03D

WIND MOTORS;

B01D

PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL: SEPARATION

F04B

POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; PUMPS;

F03G

SPRING, WEIGHT, INERTIA, OR LIKE MOTORS; MECHANICAL-POWER-PRODUCING DEVICES OR MECHANISMS, NOT
OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR OR USING ENERGY SOURCES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR;

Figure 17: IPC distribution – desalination – wind energy integration

The evolution of IPC code occurrences in this space (Figure17) show that activity in the
main IPC code (C02F) is fairly recent, only starting from the early 1990s. The top two
IPC codes (water treatment and wind motors) start to increase gradually after an initial
spike in 1991 (due to a number of patents by Alfa Laval). Initial increase in activity is due
mainly to the two main desalination IPC codes found across all the datasets (C02F and
B01D), then in 2002 the peak in the wind motors IPC (F03D) occurs due to the Aerodyn
patents. From 2003, the dataset sees an increase in patents relating to alternative
energy motors, which form an important part of directly integrated wind energy
desalination systems. This shows how individual companies’ patenting activities can
dominate a young/small space’s composition.

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