“LNG Power Generation” Emerging as a Measure to Reduce Fine Dust
-Patent applications filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) in relation to gas turbines for power generation have been increasing for the past five years (2014~2018)-
Recently, the filing of patent applications for gas turbine which is a key component of LNG (liquefied natural gas) power generation has been actively pursed by companies. Gas turbines are considered to be a more environmentally friendly power generation because they emit relatively few air pollutants such as sulfur oxides and fine dust particles.
According to KIPO, 1,049 patent applications related to gas turbines for power generation have been filed over the past 10 years (2009~2018), and in particular, about 150 cases per year were filed from 2014~2018, a significant increase over the about 60 annual cases from 2009~2013.
<Trend in Patent Applications Related to Gas Turbines for Power Generation during the Most Recent 10 Years>
According to the government, the proportion of coal and nuclear power will decrease to around 10%, while the proportion of renewable power generation is expected to increase more than 10% in the coming decade, from 2017 to 2030. Specifically, the proportion of LNG power generation will increase by 2%. (Source: The 8th Electricity Supply and Demand Plan, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, December 2017)
The 8th Electricity Supply and Demand Plan (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, December 2017) for 2017-2030 anticipated that the proportion of coal and nuclear power generation will decrease from 45.4% to 36.1% and from 30.3% to 23.9%, respectively, and that the proportion of LNG and renewable power generation will increase from 16.9% to 18.8% and from 6.2% to 20.0%, respectively.
Considering such a short period of time, there would be many practical difficulties to meeting the projected power demand with only renewables. However, it is a quite encouraging phenomenon that the filing of applications as well as research and development for gas turbines for power generation are active. Gas turbines are a key component of LNG power generation, and for power generation, LNG has great advantages over both coal and nuclear in terms of environmental factors and safety.
Over the past 10 years, Mitsubishi Corp. and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction have filed 292 cases and 237 cases, respectively, accounting for more than 50% of the total applications for gas turbine for power generation. Just after the license agreement with Mitsubishi Corp. expired, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction secured technology and patent competitiveness over Mitsubishi Corp. filing 113 cases during the years before and after 2017, by filing 171 cases in the same period.
In addition, KEPCO-affiliated power plants have filed 69 cases, national research institutes such as mechanical research institutes have filed 66 cases, and General Electric (GE, US) and Siemens (Germany), which occupy first and second place in the global gas turbine market, filed 62 cases and 36 cases, respectively.
※ Gas turbine global market share (based on 2015): GE 40.0%, Siemens 31.8%, Mitsubishi 17.8%, other 10.4% (Source: Frost & Sullivan Research and Markets)
<Patent Application Trend by Year related to Gas turbines for Power Generation by Major Applicant>
< Gas Turbine World Market Share as of 2015>
In terms of technology, the number of patent applications related to gas turbine control (351 cases), combustion apparatuses (228 cases) and cooling systems (155 cases), which are the core technologies for improving gas turbine operation efficiency, were the highest, and the filing of applications in various technological fields related to safety, such as maintenance technology, including leakage prevention, is also active.
<Patent Application Trend by Year by Detailed Technology regarding Gas Turbines for Power Generation>
Patent Application Trend by Detailed Technology regarding Gas Turbine for Power Generation (2009~2018)
• Gas turbine controlling: Technology to increase efficiency by controlling turbine rotation and gas flow
• Gas turbine cooling: Technology to improve heat transfer efficiency of gas and blades by cooling the blades
• Combustion appatus: Technology to increase combustion efficiency by properly mixing gas with compressed air
• Blades and vanes: Technology related to the shape, materials and arrangement of blades and vanes
• Other components: Sealing technology to prevent leakage, casings, diffusers, maintenance ports, etc.
The Chief of the Power Technology Examination Bureau of KIPO stated "In view of the government's plan to increase the proportion of LNG power generation by 18.8% by 2030, it is expected that the market for gas turbines for power generation will continue to grow."