Fully Integrated, End-to-End Renewable Energy Ecosystem Plans from Reliance Industries – pv magazine India

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that all oil and gas companies will be affected by the transition to clean energy, so every sector of the industry needs to think about how to respond.

The same realization has come to India’s largest private sector company, Reliance Industries Limited (Reliance), which reported a net profit of $ 7.2 billion in fiscal year 2020-2021. It recognizes the need to align with the global energy transition. This is why the company, with its new energy arm Reliance New Energy Solar (RNES), aims to invest beyond its core oil and gas business in clean energy projects such as solar, storage and green hydrogen.

Reliance Industries has its roots in a textile company started by Dhirubhai Ambani, known for its Vimal brand. But the upstream integration of the company was led by his son, Mukesh D. Ambani, a chemical engineer.

Today, Reliance is perhaps the only company in the world with backward integration spanning everything from textiles and polyester fibers to petrochemicals and petroleum refining, as well as petroleum and petroleum exploration and production. upstream gas.

Known for taking timely steps in expanding business, Mukesh Ambani announced a $ 10 billion plan in June to manufacture and fully integrate all critical components of the renewable energy ecosystem. The plan includes every step of the solar supply chain, advanced energy storage, hydrogen production and fuel cells. And based on the company’s recent investments in backward integration, Reliance may well offer the world an alternative to products made in China to meet renewable energy targets.

Mukesh D. Ambani

Image: Reliance Industries Limited

From project to completion

Mergers and acquisitions mark Reliance Industries’ foray into solar project development, PV module manufacturing and battery storage, and green hydrogen. The company is moving forward with plans to set up a fully vertically integrated solar module polysilicon manufacturing unit in Jamnagar, Gujarat – the same district where it operates refining and petrochemical plants and manufacturing assets.

Through RNES, Reliance acquires a 100% stake in Norway-based photovoltaic module manufacturer REC Group. Reliance plans to use REC’s technology and manufacturing expertise in its fully integrated silicon-PV panel gigafactory. It will initially start with 4 GW of capacity per year and eventually reach 10 GW.

Upstream, Reliance is investing $ 29 million in German wafer maker NexWafe, which Ambani described as “an important step towards accelerating India’s green energy transition and positioning India as a world leader in photovoltaic manufacturing. We believe that NexWafe’s innovative ultra-thin wafer will give solar power manufacturers a significant advantage over existing photovoltaic technologies, helping consumers in India and around the world to enjoy the benefits of solar power faster and more. effectively.

On the battery storage front, the company invested $ 50 million in Ambri, an American liquid metal battery startup incubated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), raising 42.3 million preferred shares of Ambri. As part of the transaction, RNES and Ambri will join forces to develop and manufacture Ambri batteries at production facilities located in India.

For green hydrogen, Reliance Industries has joined forces with the Danish company Stiesdal for the technological development and production of Stiesdal HydroGen electrolyzers in India. On the project development front, they aim to establish and enable at least 100 GW of solar power by 2030. The acquisition of a 40% stake in Sterling and Wilson Solar, a leading player in EPC and solar operation and maintenance, means Reliance plans to benefit from its extensive experience in global markets.

Showing no signs of slowing down, Reliance also aims to expand into the manufacturing of power electronics and other auxiliaries used in renewable energy and project implementation. The company’s decision to own the entire solar supply chain is a reminder of how it pursued upstream integration to petrochemicals and oil and gas exploration after starting with operations. textiles in the late 1970s, and thus built an empire. Today, Reliance Industries is a global leader in most of its activities throughout the energy value chain, being one of the largest integrated polyester players as well as the world’s second largest producer of paraxylene.

The company’s existing infrastructure and capital enable its upstream integration into the solar industry, particularly the capital-intensive polysilicon stages, while mergers and acquisitions provide access to cutting-edge product technology, minimizing thus risks and allowing the market to dominate as it has done in other sunrises. sectors.

Climate commitment

Fossil fuels are at the heart of Reliance’s business, with the transformation of petroleum into chemicals (O2C) being the most valuable accretion. The O2C business contributed approximately $ 43.1 billion to the company’s consolidated revenue of $ 72.6 billion from all activities. And yet, the president and CEO of Reliance, Mukesh. D. Ambani, committed the company to achieving an incredibly ambitious goal of “net zero carbon by 2035”. “The world is now closing ranks for strong global action on climate change,” Ambani said in Reliance’s annual report for fiscal year 2020-21. “This gives Reliance the right opportunity to accelerate our own ambitious company of new energies and new materials, committed to the vision of clean and green development. “

Towards its goal of “net zero carbon by 2035”, Reliance Industries has reorganized its refinery and petrochemicals activities into its O2C activity. The O2C unit focuses on transport fuels, polymers, polyesters and elastomers as it seeks to accelerate new energy and new materials to minimize CO2 and develop carbon capture and storage technologies to convert greenhouse gases into products and other chemicals, while pursuing the goal of sustainability of a circular economy.

Reliance Industries’ Jamnagar Refinery in Jamnagar, Gujarat is the largest refining center in the world. According to shipping and logistics giant Maersk, the Jamnagar refinery managed to increase its exports during the Covid-19 lockdown from 2,500 forty-foot container equivalents (FFE) to 10,000 FFE.

Leading operating companies

Digital services: Through Jio Platforms Limited (JPL), Reliance operates India’s largest telecommunications network. Jio is the first operator outside of China to cross the milestone of 400 million subscribers in a single country. It is developing next-generation 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) technology. Qualcomm and Jio have already successfully tested 5G solutions in India, reaching the 1 Gbit / s milestone.

Retail: Reliance Retail is the largest Indian retailer in terms of reach, revenue and profitability, and the only Indian retailer to be included in the Global Powers of Retailing list. In fiscal year 2020-2021, Reliance Retail opened 1,456 new stores, bringing its total number of stores to over 12,700 stores across India. It is by far the leader in every category – groceries, electronics and clothing.

Media: Network18 is a diverse media and entertainment platform in India.

Oil / gas exploration and production: An upstream portfolio made up of areas in deep water and CBM blocks. With bp, Reliance Industries will produce 30 million standard cubic meters of gas per day by 2023, making it one of the largest gas suppliers in India, meeting 20% ​​of the country’s gas demand.

From oil to chemicals: One of the most integrated petroleum-to-chemicals operations in the world, ensuring India’s energy security. The petroleum-chemicals business is a broad portfolio covering transport fuels, polymers, polyesters and elastomers. He operationalized the joint venture with bp in the distribution of fuel. To accelerate its growth, the company calls on Saudi Aramco as a strategic partner in its oil-to-chemicals business.

Key elements of the “net zero carbon by 2035” strategy

Reliance Industries’ plan to achieve ‘net zero carbon’ by 2035 includes the following key elements:

  • Transition from transport fuels to integrated chemical building blocks with sustainable downstream derivatives
  • Transition from fossil fuels to renewable fuels for captive energy demand
  • Maximize the use of biofuels and use biological pathways to fix CO2 and facilitate the conversion to renewable fuels and materials
  • Increase material recycling and maximize circularity across value chains
  • Achieve CO2 capture, storage and conversion into useful chemicals and materials at competitive costs define the content and trajectory of a reduction in Reliance’s carbon footprint

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