IOC to set up new R&D centre in Faridabad


Chennai, Oct 6 : Oil major Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) will set up a new research and development (R&D) centre at an outlay of Rs 3,200 crore in Faridabad in Haryana, a senior official said pn Wednesday. The official also said that the oil major is focusing on converting its refineries into integrated complexes where differentiated petrochemicals are made while going ahead with development of alternative fuels. Speaking to reporters here, S.S.V. Ramakumar, Director, R&D and Business Development, IOC, said the company will invest Rs 3,200 crore to set up the new R&D centre. He said the new centre will be ready by 2023. It will have five centres of excellence and the total R&D headcount will double to 1,000. According to Ramakumar, the proposed centre will do research on areas like alternative and renewable energy, nanotechnology etc. Spending about Rs 500 crore annually on R&D, IOC has monetised its research outcome. One such technology is INDMAX, a novel technology which produces high yield of light olefins and high octane gasoline from various petroleum fractions. The technology has been licensed to a Russian oil company. Ramakumar said that discussions with six more refineries in the Asia Pacific region are on for licensing of the technology. The R&D investments over the last one decade has resulted in a notional income of Rs 5,000 crore (savings in expenditure and others) for IOC, he said. With regard to asset monetisation plans of IOC, he said the company may hive off some of its hydrogen plants. During the run-up to BS VI fuel production, IOC had set up hydrogen plants and there is surplus now. To start with, the hydrogen plant at its refinery in Gujarat may be monetised, Ramakumar said. IOC also plans to convert 10 per cent of its hydrogen consumption to green hydrogen and its Mathura refinery will become green by 2024. Ramakumar said the green hydrogen can be converted to ethanol. The IOC also has plans to set up a pilot plant to make biofuel with ethanol to power aircraft. Ramakumar said the Central government may mandate refining and fertiliser industries to use green hydrogen, i.e., hydrogen made from non-fossil sources. Queried about IOC's plans to run hydrogen fuel cell buses in Kerala, he said the company has asked the state government to provide land to locate its unit at the Kochi airport and Thiruvananthapuram. The Kerala government plans to ply hydrogen powered buses between Kochi airport and Thiruvananthapuram, he said. Ramakumar said IOC ran 50 Ashok Leyland buses in Delhi mixing small quantities of hydrogen with CNG and the report will be submitted to the Supreme Court. The oil major is also looking at investing in coal bed methane blocks and integrating all its refineries with petrochemical products. /IANS


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