Shell opens new Indian technology centre to support East Asian operations
Royal Dutch Shell has opened its newest technology centre, in Bangalore, India. The custom-built 52-acre (21-hectare) site will support various internal and collaborative research and development projects to support the company’s operations across Asia.
Shell Technology Centre Bangalore (STCB) is the third such hub that the company has opened, following long-established Technology R&D centres in Houston and Amsterdam. “These locations give us access to world-class researchers, working across time zones to ensure research never stops. These hubs can interlink through 3D virtual reality systems to work simultaneously on key projects,” a company spokesperson explained to InnovOil.
The centre will house up to 1,500 staff, as well as laboratories and technology demonstration units. Shell says it will also host “a wide spectrum of technical disciplines and specific expertise in fields such as liquefied natural gas, subsurface modelling, data analysis, engineering design, bitumen, distillation and enhanced computational research.”
This includes collaborative R&D projects with universities, partners and research organisations, which Shell says can help to speed up the deployment of new technologies. Previous work has included research into chemistry and catalysis in partnership with the Indian Institutes of Technology, and collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on studies in advanced computing.
Shell also works with start-ups under its Make the Future accelerator programme.
Speaking after the opening, Shell Projects & Technology Director, Harry Brekelmans, said: “We consider R&D a fundamental part of Shell’s past and future success. Successful innovation, however, is more than just making balanced investments. Collaboration across different disciplines and with other sectors externally is a key enabler of successful innovation. And collaboration is essential to meet our biggest challenge: timely development and deployment of the best and affordable energy solutions. Our new Bangalore technology hub brings together the right people in a city that is synonymous with innovation.”
In particular, the STCB will support a number of major hydrocarbons operations in India itself, “including the core technical engine for Majnoon Iraq South Gas, upstream gas and LNG centre of expertise, FLNG support for Browse, the Abadi full-field development project, Sakhalin-2 integrated oil and gas project in Russia, full project support for Hazira capacity expansion and the Tabangao refinery LGP tank,” added the Shell spokesperson.
Waste not The centre is also helping to pioneer efforts to turn forestry, agricultural and municipal waste into transportation fuels, with a new demonstration plant being built at the site.
In particular, the STCB is home to a pioneering waste-to-fuel project (IH2). This is an advanced hydropyrolysis technology that uses catalytic processes known as hydrodeoxygenation and hydroconversion. “It can convert virtually any type of non-food lignocellulosic biomass and certain plastics directly into finished petrol, jet and diesel hydrocarbon fuels or blend stocks,” the company told InnovOil. “With appreciable amounts of nitrogen or sulphur present in biomass, [the remaining char] can be converted into ammonia and elemental sulphur fertilisers.”
“The centre is slated to play a prominent role in Shell India’s aspiration to custom-build a portfolio of new energy solutions specifically suited to India’s energy challenges. As this centre becomes fully functional and scales up, we hope to work on several more pioneering technologies that will contribute to India’s and the region’s sustainable energy future,” commented the chairman of Shell Companies in India, Nitin Prasad.