Skip to main content

Clean Energy Innovation Analysis

The Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center's (CEMAC's) clean energy innovation analysis involves understanding the dynamics of clean energy technologies in order to inform research investment decisions and innovation and technology transfer policy.

CEMAC's innovation analyses show that:

  • Different energy technology areas present unique patterns of invention and innovation.
  • New empirical methods for estimating technical and commercial impact (based on patent citations and web presence) to better target research expenditures could boost the speed and scale of innovation and deployment of clean energy technologies.

Clean Energy Innovation Analysis Highlights: Assessment of Technical and Commercial Breakthroughs in Clean Energy Technologies

In Clean Energy Innovation: Sources of Technical and Commercial Breakthroughs, researchers employed regression models and multivariate simulations to compare social, institutional, and geographic drivers of breakthrough clean energy innovation:

  • California dominates across all renewable energy technologies; clean energy patents are increasingly coming from non-U.S. sources—primarily Germany, Japan, Canada, and France.
  • The Department of Energy (DOE) and NASA historically account for one-third of renewable energy patents.
  • Solar shows the highest levels of inter-organizational linkages and biofuels shows lowest levels; extent of collaboration networking lags pharma and software.

The study also employed a new a new empirical methodology to estimate the impacts of clean energy innovation in the marketplace and found that:

  • Web presence may provide a better representation of the commercial relevance of clean energy patents than patent citations.
  • Factors impacting breakthroughs and commercial relevance vary across renewable energy technologies.