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The EPO has established a new classification scheme for technical attributes of technologies that can be loosely referred to as climate change mitigation. This makes it easier to retrieve patent document that cover these technologies.
To ensure their relevance, the categories were defined with the help of experts in the field, both from within the EPO and with the help of external partners, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The so-called Y02 subclasses include areas related to specific clean energy technologies, namely Y02C (greenhouse gases- capture and storage/sequestration or disposal) and Y02E (greenhouse gases - emissions reduction technologies related to energy generation, transmission or distribution).
Other climate change mitigation areas include Y02B, namely relating to Buildings, including the residential sector, Y02T relating to the Transportation of goods and persons, and Y04S for "Smart Grids" technologies, such as remote network operation, smart metering, electric and hybrid vehicles interoperability, and energy trading and marketing.
This is what the breakdown for a specific energy type looks like (example solar energy):
||Energy generation through renewable energy sources
||Geothermal, hydro, oceanic, solar (PV and thermal), wind
||Combustion technologies with mitigation potential
||CHP, CCPP, IGCC, synair, cold flame, etc.
||Energy generation of nuclear origin
||Fusion and fission
||Technologies for efficient electrical power generation, transmission or distribution
||Reactive power compensation, efficient operation of power networks, etc.
||Technologies for the production of fuel of non-fossil origin
||Biofuels, from waste
||Technologies with potential or indirect contribution to GHG emissions mitigation
||Energy storage (batteries, ultracapacitors, flywheels...), hydrogen technology, fuel cells, etc.
||Other energy conversion or management systems reducing GHG emissions
||Synergies among renewable energies, fuel cells and energy storage
Taking solar energy as an example, this is what a specific energy type looks like in the new scheme:
||Solar thermal energy
||Heat exchange systems|
||Solar-thermal plants for electricity generation, e.g. Rankine, Stirling solar-thermal generators|
||Mountings or tracking|
||Mechanical power, e.g. thermal updraft|
||Photovoltaic (PV) energy|
||PV systems with concentrators|
||CuInSe2 material PV cells|
||Dye sensitized solar cells|
||Solar cells from Group II-VI materials|
||Solar cells from Group III-V materials|
||Microcrystalline silicon PV cells|
||Polycrystalline silicon PV cells|
||Amorphous silicon PV cells|
||Power conversion electrical/electronic aspects|
||for grid-connected applications|
||concerning power management inside the plant, e.g. battery charging/discharging,economical operation, hybridisation with other energy sources|
||M.P.P.T. systems (maximum power point tracking)|