The challenges, which the hydrocarbon industry is currently facing and is likely to face, are unstable crude prices, significant price differential between light and heavy crudes, shifting product demands and reducing fuel oil uptake. In addition, there is a moving target for purity of petroleum products and need to synergistically utilize other energy sources, particularly, bio-resources.
The future refineries would have to be necessarily smart in terms of understanding these challenges and to be able to adopt their designs and operations to take advantage of the above. For example, high conversion processes would be needed to take advantage of low price of heavy crudes, maximize energy efficiency, minimize CO2 footprint and thus encourage use of hydrogen free technologies. There is also a need to synergistically integrate current operations with petrochemical production while allowing for the high volatility of this market.
Moreover, in any refining operation, there are several by-product streams, which are considered to be of low value. These streams need to be looked at for value addition as they can bring significant impact to the refinery bottom line.
Understanding the refinery processes, value addition with various components can bring the use of new and innovative technologies that would help the refiners to survive in the future. The successful would be those who anticipate the changes and work towards implementing the schemes to meet such changes, particularly with respect to the need to reduce green house gas emissions and thus large scale introduction of alternative fuels from renewable resources. CSIR-IIP has already developed and committed to maintain its leading role in developing innovative technologies to meet the challenges prevailing in the hydrocarbon industry.