The Next Big Trends In Clean Energy?

If patent patterns are any indication, the emphasis in clean energy will be solar, fuel cell and hybrid/electric vehicle technology.

Patents in those three areas reached record levels in first quarter 2010, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index published by the intellectual property law firm of Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti. The number of patents related to clean energy increased 13%, with Honda, General Motors and Samstrung leading the pack.

The number of fuel cell patents increased by 20 from the fourth quarter, while solar patents were up 11 and hybrid/electric vehicle patents increased from 17 to 50. Solar patents topped wind for two consecutive quarters for the first time since 2005, the report said.
Patents related to wind fell 9% and biofuel patents held their own.

Japan, Michigan and California were the Big 3 when applications were tracked by geography.
Will all the new patents translate into significant clean energy projects? We'll see. The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, which works to keep energy costs down in an area where power bills are among the highest and incomes among the lowest, is deeply interested in the outcome.