Filing of Patent Applications Related to a Technology for Recycling Carbon Dioxide, one of the major causes of Global Warming, Increases
- Increase in Filings of patent applications related to electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion-
With the weather this summer predicted to be hot and humid, interest in technology for reducing carbon dioxide, one of the major causes of global warming, is growing. As part of an expanding range of technologies related to carbon dioxide reduction, from simply capturing and burying carbon dioxide to recycling it, various technologies are now being developed in order to convert carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals.
Among them, carbon dioxide recycling technology using electrochemical conversion (reduction reaction) has the spotlight as one of the carbon dioxide recycling technologies for the next generation due to its advantages such as ease of facility operation through use of electricity and small facility space requirements, etc., and such reasons are behind the increase in filings of this type of application.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of patent application filings related to electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion increased to 161 cases in the most recent 5 years (from 2015 to 2019), almost double the 84 cases of the previous 5 year period (from 2010 to 2014).
By looking at filing tendency by technical field, 136 cases (55%) are applications related to converter structure, 90 cases (37%) are applications related to cathodes, one component of a converter, and 19 cases (8%) are applications related to other components such as anodes and separators, etc.
<Filing status related to electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion technology>
The reason for such active filing of patent applications related to cathodes is analyzed to be that various products such as carbon monoxide used in chemical production, etc., formic acid used in rubber production, etc., and alcohol and hydrocarbons used for fuels, etc. can be obtained according to the constitution of a cathode’s catalyst, and such also has an effect on the efficiency of converting carbon dioxide into these valuable products.
By looking at the patent filing trend by applicant, domestic applicants filed 175 cases (71%) while foreigners filed 70 cases (29%). Among the domestic patent filings, universities and research institutes took the majority of filings (157 cases, 90%), with the remaining filed by corporations (18 cases, 10%). Among the foreign patent filings, the USA filed 26 cases (37%), Europe filed 21 cases (30%) and Japan filed 10 cases (14%).
The reason for universities and research institutions taking the majority of domestic filings is analyzed to be because securing economic feasibility of products compared to input of electrical energy, raw materials and other such aspects are still in the research and development phase.
The team leader of the Materials & Metals Examination Division of KIPO emphasized, “Carbon dioxide conversion technology not only has the purpose of solving global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions but also has high economic value in the aspect of recycling carbon dioxide, so it is anticipated that related technical developments will be active in the future”, and also stressed, “The interest of corporations is most important to commercializing the corresponding technology.”