New patents for renewable energy technology have spiked in recent years to levels never seen for fossil fuel patents, illustrating a worldwide effort to innovate in the field, according to new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Santa Fe Institute.
The United States issued more than 1,000 patents for renewable energy technology in 2009, a leap from about 200 per year between 1975 and 2000, the research said. In 2009, just 300 patents related to fossil fuels were issued, up from an average of about 100 a year in earlier decades.
The trend is present worldwide, according to the study of more than 73,000 patents issued in more than 100 countries between 1970 and 2009.
Between 2004 and 2009, the number of solar patents issued annually grew 13 percent each year, MIT said.
Patents issued for wind energy jumped 19 percent per year over the same period, according to the research.
“These growth rates approach or exceed the rates for technologies such as semiconductors and digital communications,” said a press release on the study.
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