UK Company Leads the World in Patents for Perovskite Solar Cell Technologies

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Since the publication of the Henry Snaith paper[1] on perovskite solar cell technologies in 2012 there has been an explosion in the number of organisations focusing on developing and commercialising the technology. This has given rise to an explosion of patent filings. Year on year growth has been rapid with more than 1,400 patents published within the past two years.

Cambridge, UK, 13th February 2018, The latest perovskite patent landscape report from cintelliq finds explosive growth in perovskite photovoltaic patent publications over the past two year. In 2016 and 2017 more than 1,500 patents have been published representing 75% of all perovskite photovoltaic patents published since 2008.

The catalyst for this growth in perovskite photovoltaic patents can be traced back to the publication of an academic paper in 2012 by Henry Snaith[1] et al on perovskite solar cell technologies which showed it was possible to improve power conversion efficiencies to more than 10.9% and at the same time offering route towards a low-cost manufacturing process.

Fast forward to 2018 and technical progress has been nothing short of impressive with perovskite power conversion efficiencies being perovskite solar cell technologies can reach more 22%.

Not only is technical progress rapid but so too has been the transitions to commercial production. Within the past year Oxford Photovoltaics has set up a pilot production facility in Germany as too has Greatcell Solar in Australia and Saule in Poland.

The total number of patents published to the end of December 2017 is 2,030 and filed by 396 distinct assignees. The growth in patents published between 2016 and 2017 is staggering – 75% of the current published patents appeared in these two years.

Perovskite Solar Cell Patents - Patents Published

Perovskite Solar Cell Patents - Patents Filed

These published patents arise from innovations that occur in previous years. The chart of yearly patent filings shows that many of these patents were filed over the period 2013 – 2015.

As can be seen there are fewer patent filings in 2016 and even less in 2017. However, this is not a rapid fall in filings, but side effect of the length of time it takes to go from initial filing through to initial publications.

Generally it takes about 18 months from initial filing to initial publication. So the bulk of published patents are mainly those filed prior to mid 2016. Although, many Chinese patents seem to be published quicker than 18 months.

The considered consensus is that patent filing of perovskite photovoltaic technologies will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

Oxford Photovoltaic leader in the number of patents

One surprising finding from the patent landscape study is that a single UK based company Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd holds 119 published patents 33 patents more than second place Sekisui Chemical Co Ltd. Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd is a spin-out company from the University of Oxford and based on the work of Henry Snaith who currently holds the position of professor in physics in the Clarendon Laboratory at the University of Oxford.

Perovskite Solar Cell Patents - Top Assignees

Commercial patent filings lags academic filings – but is country dependent

Further, analysis reveals significant regional differences in the patenting activities between commercial and academic assignees. At the moment academic assignees account for 1,111 (55%) of these published patents, and commercial assignees for 805 (40%) with the remaining 6% published patents by jointly owned patents (84) and those from independent assignees (30).

This is expected to change over the long term for two reason:

  • current commercial assignees filings increasing as the first wave of innovators seek to innovation
  • new commercial entrants bring new products to market and will seek protection
  • academics institutions seeking to commercialise their technologies

Perovskite Solar Cell Patents - Ratio of Commercial vs Academic Assignees by Filing Country

Materials and device companies are actively filing patents – Japanese companies very active

Examination of the commercial assignees shows that both materials and device companies are actively developing perovskite solar cell technologies. Within the top fourteen commercial and academic assignees there there are two devices companies, four companies and eight academic institutions:

Perovskite Solar Cell Patents - Materials and Device Companies Actively Filing

Craig Cruickshank, lead author of the report at cintelliq, said “Since the publication of the Henry Snaith paper[1] on perovskite solar cell technologies in 2012 there has been an explosion in the number of organisations focusing on developing and commercialising the technology. This has given rise to an explosion of patent filings. Year on year growth has been rapid with more than 1,400 patents published within the past two years.”

Craig added, “Given the number of organisations involved, the pace of development and the rapid improvement in power conversion efficiency perovskite technology raises it commercial potential to challenge silicon as the dominant solar cell technology of the future. Keeping track of patenting activities will be vital for any organisation who wishes to be a major player in this field of development.”

More analysis and assessment can be found in the report

The latest cintelliq report – “Perovskite photovotiacs: A review of the patent landscape – 2018-Q1”. This latest report covers patents up to the end of December 2017, provides a comprehensive review of the technology development and commercialisation of this challenger to silicon photovoltaics. The report analyses who is actively filing patents, what they are filing, what technologies are being developed, how this will change over time, what patents are most cited, who is citing which patents, and how the patent landscape will evolve.

[1] Henry Snaith Paper: “Efficient Hybrid Solar Cells Based on Meso-Superstructured Organometal Halide Perovskites

About cintelliq: Since 2002, cintelliq has been providing information and consulting services to a wide range companies interesting in understanding how emerging technologies are commercialising, this includes delivering technology analysis, patent analysis and market analysis in reports and consulting projects. comment

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