Water treatment technology development supports a steady, safe water supply. This study examines trends in water treatment technology innovations, using 227,365 patent granted data published from 1993 to 2016 as an indicator of changing research and development (R & D) priorities. To clarify changes in R & D priorities, we used a decomposition analysis framework that classified water treatment technologies into five types: conventional treatment (117,974 patents, 51.9%), biological treatment (40,300 patents, 17.7%), multistage treatment (45,732 patents, 20.1%), sludge treatment (15,237 patents, 6.7%), and other treatments (8122 patents, 3.6%). The results showed that the number of water treatment technology patents granted increased more than 700% from 1993 to 2016; in particular, the number of multistage water treatment patents granted rapidly grew. The main driver of this growth was expansion in the R & D activity scale and an increase in the priority of multistage water treatment technology in China. Additionally, the trends and priority changes in water treatment technology inventions varied by country and technology groups, which implied that an international policy framework for water treatment technology development should recognize that R & D priorities need to reflect the diverse characteristics of countries and technologies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Aquatic Science
- Water Science and Technology