AEROGELS – UPDATES IN THE LAST 5 YEARS

 

We had originally published a Technology Insight Report on Aerogels back in 2010. In this blog we take a look as how the patent filings in Aerogel have shaped up since then.

Aerogels Patent Analysis in last 5 year

WHAT ARE AEROGELS?

 

Aerogels are light and highly porous solid that are created by rapidly evaporating the liquid in a solgel mixture and replacing the liquid with air. These materials are notable for their low density and their low thermal conductivity. Because of their unique properties, aerogels are used in chemical adsorption, as lightweight composite materials, in chemical catalysis and in insulating materials. They can also be seen in products such as capacitors, in paints and cosmetics in the form of thickening agents, and chemical absorbers for cleaning chemical spills. Aerogels also help in cleaning air and water treatment. Aerogels were first isolated several decades ago, but never truly took off because of the high cost. Today however, this material is experiencing a renaissance following technological developments which have brought the costs down and market factors driving up demand.

SUMMARY OF AEROGEL PATENT FILINGS

The worldwide patent dataset for aerogel between 1932 and 2016 contains over 19000 published patents, equating to over 10000 patent families.

APPLICANT TYPE

Type of Applicant Number of Entries
Firm 6584
Institutes 636
Universities 126
Government Organizations 93
Individuals 73
Hospitals 9

APPLICATION TRENDS

The chart displays the filing trends for patents in aerogel from 1997 onwards. In the report published in 2010 (on Aerogel) the total number of filings for aerogels stood at 3600 with the maximum filings in the year 2009(401). As compared to that total filing have more than doubled in the last five years to reach 10500. After 2010 there has been steady increase in the number of applications filed with maximum number of applications in the year 2014(988).This steep rise is because of companies like L’Oreal, which have had an incredible rise in the applications filed during this period.

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From about 467 filings in the year 2010, the number has risen to a whopping 950 in the year 2014. The dip after 2014 is because many of the applications filed haven’t been published yet. It is safe to assume that the technology is still continuing on its positive growth trend and the number of patent filings for the year 2015 might cross the 1000 mark.

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TOP PATENT ASSET HOLDERS

The top patent asset holders in aerogel technology are displayed below. The chart shows comparison between the total number of applications filed till 2010 and overall applications till date. If we compare the top applicants since 2010 we can see that companies have like L’Oreal, Aspen, Lawrence Levermore National Security have increased their research interests in aerogels and its applications.

 

Its interesting to see that companies like L’Oreal , Philips and Lawrence Livermore National Security which were not even the top 20 applicants till 2010 are a part of the top 20 applicants in 2016. Loreal in particular has ramped up its filings in the last five years (from 8 applications to 123 in the last five years), whereas General Electric continues to lead the list of applicants as they did in 2010.

Top Patent Asset Holder_Aerogel

Harbin Institute is the only institute amongst the top applicants with 51 applications, with all its applications being filed after 2010.

Cabot’s aerogel product line delivers a range of benefits for building insulation applications such as Energy efficiency, Space savings, Moisture management and flexibility. Their research has been bolstered by acquisition of the assets on aerogel technology of Hoechst.

 

Polymer-enhanced aerogels and polymer-based aerogels have numerous potential applications, both in space, on distant planets and on our own Earth. They are light, durable and extremely effective at insulating and preventing heat transfer. NASA has taken aerogels to the next level, beyond what was previously imagined, and uncovered a world of possibilities for this versatile material. Some of the latest innovations by top applicants include Geopolymer Aerogel, aerogel as sorbents, Polysaccharide aerogels, flexible composites and Boron nitride aerogels.

 

The pie chart below represent top ten Institutes for research around aerogel. Harbin Institute leads the list of applicants under institutes with 53 families out of the total 636 families categorized under institutes followed by Korea Ind Tech Institute.

Top 10 Institute Patent Filing Aerogel

The pie chart below represents top ten Universities for research around aerogel.  National University of Defence Technology (China) leads the list of applicants under institutes with 22 families out of the total 126 families categorized under universities followed by University of Science and Technology (China). It’s interesting to see that seven out o the top ten universities are from China. This is because of the funding the Chinese Governments provides to the universities to spur innovation, which in turn explains the top position held by Chine in terms of filings.

Top 10 Universities Research Around Aerogel

PATENT APPLICATION BY GEOGRAPHY

The chart below shows the contribution of different patent office’s towards the growth in applications worldwide.

Aerogel Patent Filing Priority country

As for the growth in filings around aerogels in the last five years worldwide, USPTO accounted for 15% of the total filings followed by KR with 8%.

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Interestingly, the above figure indicates that China leads over other countries including the U.S. and European Patent Offices, in total patent applications filed. Since 2010 there has been considerable growth in the filings at SIPO (2885 applications since 2010). Year-on-year growth shows filings grew by 8% in 2011, 20% in 2012, 24% in 2013.During the last five years SIPO has contributed 59% of the total filings worldwide. Filings at USPTO have dropped significantly since 2010, with just 748 filing in the last five years.

 

Resident filings at SIPO have dropped in the last five years from 26% during 2005-2010 to 16% in the period 2011-2016. However there has been tremendous increase in the number of non-resident filings, from 21% during 2005-2010 to 45% in the subsequent period 2011-2016.

SUMMARY

The patent data shows a very keen interest around aerogels developing over the last few years and continuing to grow at a very rapid pace after somewhat slower start during the period 2005-2010.

 

China has emerged as the leader (in the last five years) in terms of manufacturing as well as consumption of aerogel. Growth of the automotive manufacturing industry coupled with the ever-expanding oil & gas market is expected to bolster aerogel market growth in this region.

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