Between those technologies which are directed to the supply of energy on the one hand and those which are directed to the end use of energy on the other hand, CCUS is one of a number of key enabling technologies within the energy sector which aim to power the energy transition. One metric for determining innovation within any given sector is to look at trends in the filing of intellectual property (IP) rights, more particularly patent filings.
According to the European Patent Office and International Energy Agency, patenting filing activity for all enabling technologies grew in the 20 years from 2000. Enabling technologies represented 34% of all low carbon technology patent filings in 2019. The Report also highlighted that the number of international patent filings in the CCUS technology grew significantly during that time (almost trebled) but is still much smaller than other enabling technologies such as batteries, hydrogen and fuel cells, smart grids and storage.
The UK government’s investment amongst other things aims to attract private sector investment in order to support the early development of CCUS in the UK. Given the globally competitive nature of the energy sector and that innovation is seen as a key driver in supporting the energy transition, capturing the innovation likely to be generated needs to be considered alongside capturing the carbon itself if the industry is to not just create but maintain the 50,000 jobs the government hopes their investment will foster.