With 17,487 patents filed between 2000 and 2019, France is ranked as the second most innovative country in Europe for low-carbon energy, after Germany (52,684 patents filed) but ahead of the United Kingdom (11,289 patents).

France also stands out for being the sixth most innovative country in the world in the field of low-carbon energy in a report published by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday April 27, 2021. This report, which reviews global tendencies in “clean energy” innovation looking particularly at the number of patents filed, also highlights the place held by public-sector research in France.

In addition to France’s ranking, the EPO and the IEA show that Europe is the most innovative region in the world for low-carbon energy, with 28% of patent applications in the last 20 years, ahead of Japan (25%), the United States (20%), South Korea (10%) and China (8%).

The report also notes the trend for low-carbon energy production technologies (essentially including renewable energies) towards energy efficiency technologies or those enabling the passage to more sustainable energy for end users. This trend, which started in 2012, also concerns cross-cutting technologies, such as batteries, hydrogen and smart grids, and in the authors’ view translates the technological maturity reached by renewable energies, such as solar power, to which other renewable energies can be added, such as biofuel or marine energy, which haven’t yet been taken up on the same scale in terms of patents filed.


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