Friday, February 27, 2015
Alternative Energy & Green Technologies Patent Filter Project
An Overview
The Patent Board has over 30 years of experience developing and generating patent indicators. We have been providing the National Science Foundation (NSF) with scientific literature and patent indicators for the National Science Board's (NSB) biennial Science and Engineering Indicators reports ever since the first report in 1972. With the request from the NSB to NSF to track innovation in sustainable energy, The Patent Board created a patent filter to help identify such technologies. Application of the filter to US patents enables NSF to analyze global developments in the area of alternative energy and related technologies through the use of patent indicators.
Alternative Energy & Energy Storage
     Alternative Energy
          Electric/Hybrid Vehicles
          Fuel Cells
     Energy Storage
          Superconduct Magn Energy Syst
          Compressed Air
          Hydrogen Production & Storage
          Thermal Energy Storage
Green Technologies
     Pollution Mitigation
          Pollution Control – Air
          Pollution Control – Solid Waste
          Pollution Control – Water
          Environmental Remediation
          Cleaner Coal
          Carbon & Greenhouse Gas Capture
     Smart Grid
          Advanced Components
          Sensing & Measurement
          Advanced Control Methods
          Improved Interfaces & Decis Supp
          Integrated Communication
NSF's initial focus was on alternative energy, and it was split into nine different technologies. As energy storage is a necessity for both electric/hybrid vehicles and the smart grid, it became a second major area, encompassing seven specific energy storage types. As the project further evolved, NSF decided to identify clean environment technologies, leading to a third major area for pollution mitigation techniques. While finding alternative energy sources is important for sustainable energy, efficient use of existing resources is equally important, so a fourth major area was added for smart grid. In the end, the topic was organized into 28 individual filters within the four major areas.
Capturing a patent landscape in a particular technology usually requires developing what we call a filter. A filter is a set of queries executed in patent search software to identify all patents meeting the search criteria. A filter can be as simple as a set of patent classification codes, a more complex set of terms searched for in different sections of a patent document, or a combination of the two. Patent filter creation is an iterative process, and depending on the complexity of the technology, the transparency of the keywords and codes, and the degree of accuracy desired, devising an effective filter can take just a few days or many months. In this case, building an alternative energy filter required extensive use of patent classification codes combined with keywords, along with researching the companies working in the space and the patents they hold.
The filtering process for this endeavor took place over 18 months. The filters presented here are a reflection of the state of the technology today and in the recent past. As science moves onward, terminology changes, and classifications are added, an update to the filters will be necessary to keep them current.
Full details of the Alternative Energy & Related Technologies filter development are available in a complete report to NSF . A brief overview of the contents of each subarea is provided on this website. In addition, the actual search criteria for each of the 28 subareas of Alternative Energy & Green Technologies is available for your own research purposes.
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