R&D Conclave 2022


R&D Conclave 2022

Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) organised a three-day workshop on R&D Conclave from 16th November to 18th November 2022 at Jaypee Residency Manor, Mussoorie. This year’s theme of the Conclave was “India’s journey towards Net Zero”. The event was being organized with the focus to drive the industry forward through innovation and collaboration while managing the need for climate change. The broad topics that were discussed included-electric mobility, role of Hydrogen in energy transition, role of CCUS, refineries of the future, biomass value chain, energy storage, carbon financing solutions etc.

The conclave witnessed a wide participation of companies across the upstream, midstream, downstream, and technologies domain. The workshop was attended by more than 150 delegates (physically and virtually) and was appreciated in terms of content by everyone.

The Welcome Address at the inaugural session was delivered by Mr. TK Sengupta, Director (Exploration & Production), FIPI. Mr. Sengupta welcomed the delegates and mentioned that R&D in oil and gas industry plays a pivotal role in the company’s scale of operations for providing techno-economical solutions for the problems faced in the areas of exploration, drilling, production and transportation of crude oil and natural gas. In the light of climate change and global warming, apart from its routine nature of operations, R&D sector has also assumed the responsibility of integrating low-cost carbon free renewables into the hydrocarbon mix.  The new areas such as hydrogen, CCUS that are being explored by R&D departments are an important step to achieve maximum energy with minimum carbon emissions. Further the companies are also devising technologies for the use of biofuels (ethanol, methanol), Waste to Energy and plastic neutrality, etc that will lead to fuel conservation, efficiency improvement, and reduction of carbon emissions.

Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Chancellor, Homi Bhabha National Institute; Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Commission and former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission delivered the special address virtually. He said R&D would have to plays a crucial role in India’s journey towards net zero. The energy transition in today’s world includes a shift from fossil fuel-based energy sources to low carbon energy sources such as renewables, hydro and nuclear along with CCUS in conjunction with fossil energy sources, hydrogen etc. Biofuels would become the key for meeting energy needs of kitchens in rural and urban areas. The energy transformation will have spill over effects in terms of eliminating costly crude oil imports as clean energy sources can be mostly produced domestically, and also in term of new technological deployment in the demand side. Hydrogen, production, initially through electrolysis and later through thermochemical splitting of water, along with its utilisation in hard to abate segments will become a major part of the energy economy.

Dr. R.K. Malhotra, Professor of Practice (Adjunct) in Depts. of Energy at IIT, Delhi delivered the Special address on R&D needs in the era of Energy Transition. He said that with rising population & urbanisation, the energy demand is bound to rise and thus there is greater need of clean energy sources that can take care of the rising energy demand as well as emit less/zero CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. India’s expanding natural gas network, massive bio-mass potential, and great push for renewable energy, hydrogen and EVs, offers opportunity to achieve a decarbonised future. Under refineries segment, process intensification and flexibility to vary product mix is the key to achieve higher efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. The companies need to deploy advanced technologies for CO2 capture and conversion to chemicals in order to achieve higher profitability & safety. Further, R&D focus on clean fuels for mobility includes BS VII branded fuels, bio-fuels and blends, EVs, hybrids, and Hydrogen in IC/Fuel cell vehicles.

Mr. Sanjay Khanna, Director (Refineries), BPCL delivered the Special address on Net Zero initiatives. He mentioned that India currently stands at 4th position in renewable energy (mainly solar and wind) and the ranking is expected to improve further in the coming decades. The positive growth rate in GDP as well as geographical versatility are another positive aspect that will help in harnessing the clean energy sources. In terms of challenges, energy trilemma exists in India – which includes affordability, accessibility & sustainability that needs to be addressed. BPCL’s plans to rigorously follow several steps in order to become net zero. The ways adopted by BPCL to increase energy efficiency include- reducing steam consumption, methods to convert turbine drive to motor drive or electrical re- tracing etc. Another achievement laid down by BPCL’s R&D department which has also gained international recognition includes efficiency in LPG burner in the range of 65%-74%. Thus, BPCL ‘s ambitions are to achieve the target of net zero by 2040.

Dr. SSV Ramakumar, Director (R&D), IOCL delivered the Special address on Net Zero initiatives. He mentioned that IOCL has the ambition to be “operational net zero” by year 2046. The energy & innovation trends in year 2022 mainly depends on 3 factors- decarbonisation, decentralisation, & digitalization. HE said that India cumulatively accounts (since 1970) – only 4% and 1.9% of total global CO2 emission footprint and per capital CO2 emission footprint, respectively, and thus there should be different yardsticks for dealing with the climate change policies on a pan - global basis. Therefore, the importance of climate justice, climate finance and climate adaptation are crucial. He said IOCL thus plans to mitigate CO2 emissions by improving energy efficiency of company’s operations, switching internal fuels to natural gas, Switching to CBG, shifting from captive power generation to grid power generation, adopting renewable energy and switching to green hydrogen once the economies of scale is achieved.

After the inaugural session on 16th November, 2022 over the next two days, R&D Conclave 2022 witnessed sessions on various topics related to electric mobility, role of Hydrogen in energy transition, role of CCUS, refineries of the future, biomass value chain, energy storage, carbon financing solutions etc. The Conclave was concluded by Mr. DLN Sastri, Director (Oil, Refining & Marketing) FIPI, who delivered the vote of thanks to the delegates. He mentioned that there have been diverse range of engaging sessions conducted by the esteemed set of speakers and panellists – which have stimulated the minds to look for future business solutions in the R&D space and ensures that we move towards the path of success in our respective organisations.  He sincerely thanked the member companies, IOCL, GAIL, ONGC, BPCL, HMEL, EIL and OIL for their kind support and participation as well as the contribution made by them, that have helped in making this event a grand success.

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