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Understanding the development trends of low-carbon energy technologies: A patent analysis

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  • Albino, Vito
  • Ardito, Lorenzo
  • Dangelico, Rosa Maria
  • Messeni Petruzzelli, Antonio

Abstract

Eco-innovations are being recognized as fundamental means to foster sustainable development, as well as to create new business opportunities. Nowadays, the eco-innovation concept is gaining ground within both academic and practitioner studies with the attempt to better understand the main dynamics underlying its nature and guide policymakers and companies in supporting its development. This paper contributes to the extant literature on eco-innovation by providing a comprehensive overview of the evolution of a specific type of eco-innovations that are playing a crucial role in the current socio-economic agenda, namely low-carbon energy technologies. Accordingly, we focus our attention on the related patenting activity of different countries and organizations over time, as well as on influencing policy initiatives and events. Hence, we collected 131,661 patents granted at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (U.S.PTO.) between 1971 and 2010, and belonging to the “Nuclear power generation”, “Alternative energy production”, and “Energy conservation” technological classes, as indicated by the International Patent Classification (IPC) Green Inventory. Our findings report the development trends of low-carbon energy technologies, as well as identify major related environmental programs, historical events, and private sector initiatives explaining those trends, hence revealing how these different circumstances have significantly influenced their development over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Albino, Vito & Ardito, Lorenzo & Dangelico, Rosa Maria & Messeni Petruzzelli, Antonio, 2014. "Understanding the development trends of low-carbon energy technologies: A patent analysis," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 836-854.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:135:y:2014:i:c:p:836-854
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.08.012
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