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AI boosts patents in renewable energy sector: data

Patent applications in the renewable energy sector have sharply increased in recent years, on the back of artificial intelligence and its integration with energy systems, data showed Tuesday.

The number of renewable energy patents involving artificial intelligence issued in 2006-2017 totaled at 253, according to the Korean Intelligence Property Office.

The yearly figure, which lingered in the 11-17 range in 2010-2012, took a drastic upturn starting 2013 to reach 40 in 2016 and 47 in 2017.

Of the accumulated total, Samsung Electronics topped the list with 20 patents, followed by state-run Korean Electric Power Corporation with 15 patents. Samsung is also the world‘s second-largest holder of patents in the field of artificial intelligence.

German industrial heavyweight Siemens, Korea’s state-run Korea Institute of Energy Research and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute were also included in the list. Small- and medium-sized enterprises accounted for 75 of the total.

The majority of the corresponding patents involved technologies to diagnose the conditions of power plants and to predict and manage demands for power supplies, data showed. 

Korea Southern Power Co.'s wind turbines in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)
Korea Southern Power Co.'s wind turbines in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)

“In order to create tangible effects such as the reduction of fossil energy use, we must optimize the efficiency of renewable energy by actively integrating AI to the (renewable energy) industry,” said an official of KIPO.

While South Korea’s government plans to increase the proportion of renewable energy up to 20 percent by year 2030, the unpredictability of this new energy has been pointed out as a crucial flaw.

AI is expected to enable an efficient integration of renewable energy with the conventional energy system by offering a more precise demand forecast, controlling the volume of fossil energy generation and boosting the efficiency of energy transfer, according to KIPO.

By Bae Hyun-jung (