Grid-Scale Concentrated Solar Thermal: Thermal Energy Storage Technologies

by Allison A. Ferro Ph.D., Matthew Rappaport

Sector Patent Landscape Analysis Report

GTM Research presents this important report from our research partner, IP Checkups.

Concentrated solar thermal (CST) represents a promising option for grid-scale renewable electricity generation. The Cleantech Group reports Venture Capital investors put $745 million to work in the CST technology space in 2008 through early October. Beyond lower costs and better scalability, one of the key advantages of CST technology over other utility-scale renewable energy generation technologies like photovoltaic or wind, is the potential for thermal energy storage.

A wide-range of storage technologies have been invented and applied to CST. This report analyzes the competitive patent landscape surrounding grid-scale CST thermal energy storage.

Analysis is based on targeted searches of patents and patent applications published from January 1, 1981 through December 31, 2008 in the following worldwide authorities:

  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • The European Patent Office
  • The World Intellectual Property Office
  • The Japanese Patent office - English Translations of Japanese Published Patent Application Abstracts

The patent-centric report broadly identifies key patents, companies and inventors in the thermal energy storage space. Additionally, the report is more narrowly focused on the analysis of patent protection, including claims assessments, technology breadth and licensing agreements of thermal energy storage technologies for the key CST players currently active in the thermal energy storage space.

This intellectual property (IP) sector landscape analysis report is valuable for anyone interested in better gauging the long-term success potential of CST technologies. Investors and companies working in the space will gain insight into the thermal energy storage technologies being pursued as well as how competitors are allocating assets and positioning themselves for the future vis-à-vis the competition.

CST Technologies covered:

Parabolic troughs, linear Fresnel, power-tower, and dish-engine.

Thermal Storage Technologies discussed:

Molten salt, thermocline, phase-change materials, compressed steam, water, concrete, cement, rock, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and graphite.

CST players included:

Abengoa Solar, Acciona, Airlight Energy, Ausra, Australian National University, Bell Independent Power, BrightSource Energy, CBD Energy, City University of New York, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR), US Department of Energy (DOE), Engineuity Research & Devlopment, eSolar, Fraunhofer Institute (ISE), Hamilton Sundstrand, Infinia, Jasper Energy, Larkden Pty. Ltd., Lloyd Energy Storage, Los Alamos National Lab, MAN Ferrostaal, Marine Desalination Systems, MeV Technology, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), New Process Industries, Novatec Biosol, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, PSE AG, Sandia, SENER, SkyFuel, Solargenix, Solar Millennium, Solar Power Group, SolarReserve, Solel, Sopogy, Stirling Energy Systems, Sustainable Resources, Thermal Energy Systems, United Technologies, Wizard Power, and Yeda Research & Development.

Allison A. Ferro Ph.D. Senior Patent Analyst, IP Checkups

Allison Ferro joined IP Checkups in 2008 after seven years in the Medical Device industry. Most recently she worked as a Technology Analyst for the Strategic Development Group at Nellcor Puritan Bennett, a division of Tyco Healthcare, now Covidien. She was responsible for scouting and evaluating technologies and companies for potential investment or acquisition using market research, valuation modeling, and intellectual property analysis.

Matthew Rappaport Co-Founder IP Checkups; IP Analyst

With a strong background in research and analysis, Matthew Rappaport has become one of a handful of people with expertise at generating, assessing, and interpreting reports that highlight relationships between competitive patent portfolios. Beginning in 1999, Matthew began exploring the Aureka® software which is considered to be the pre-eminent platform for visualizing competitive patent landscapes.

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