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Interview


Ashish Bhandari
"The solutions that work in various parts of the world don’t mean that it will even work in India. We need to design our own solutions, practical for our environment and also cost- effective."

Ashish Bhandari
CEO - India & South Asia, BHGE

BHGE Working Towards Achieving Net Zero CO2 By 2050


May 09, 2019
Climate change, driven by increased carbon emissions, is the grim reality of the world we live in today and to reverse this climate change will require an unprecedented concerted effort from us all. Often, we see environmentalists and green energy companies talk about carbon emissions but in this edition, we are sharing views and strategies by BHGE who, as an oil & gas industry player, have committed themselves to reduce CO2 equivalent emissions to Net Zero by 2050. Ashish Bhandari, CEO, India & South Asia, BHGE, shared with us the challenges and solutions that can pave the way for embracing the carbon neutrality.

OAJ - May we request you to ask what have been the factors for BHGE to commit to reduce CO2 equivalent emissions to Net Zero by 2050?
Bhandari :The commitment is driven by BHGE’s understanding of its responsibility, and of the world at large, towards reducing greenhouse emissions and urgently addressing the big environmental challenge that the world faces. I believe to meet the challenges we need to make strong commitments and companies in the energy sector need to come together to resolve this issue. Realising this responsibility, we at BHGE have willingly taken the challenge of cutting down 50 per cent of carbon footprints by 2030, and by 2050 becoming entirely carbon neutral. We commenced our journey five years ago and are consistently cutting down our emission levels, creating cleaner plants which are better from an emission perspective. Digital technologies have played a major role in helping us in understanding and in monitoring our carbon footprint.

OAJ - India is the fourth highest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, accounting for 7 per cent of global emissions as of 2017. Could you highlight the major factors that are leading to continuous growth of the carbon emissions in India?
Bhandari : In the current scenario, though our carbon usage and emissions are high, our actual emissions on per capita basis are still a fraction of that in the western world. As India’s standard of living and our population increases, so will the country’s energy intensity. India understands that as a rapidly growing economy, its emissions will continue to increase but as a part of COP 21 we have committed to limit our carbon emission to below the rate of growth of GDP. I would like to acknowledge here that the government’s introduction of various innovative initiatives reflects the sheer diligence towards the commitment made as part of COP 21. As BHGE, we would like to be associated with government and India at large in making India more carbon friendly place.

And to your question on major factors driving emissions growth, I would like to mention that right from industrial growth driving industrial emissions, to automotive growth leading to pollution emissions, almost every factor will be contributing to the growth of emissions. In fact, even as our population increases, our energy usage grows which eventually increases emissions.

On the energy usage front, we are still heavily coal dependent and not only are we heavily coal dependent, even in the future, it will be difficult to eliminate coal from our energy mix - the way, as examples, Germany or Norway have changed their energy mix. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to adapt zero usage strategies, but we can limit its share in the energy mix. In the present scenario, we need to limit the share of coal in our growth story and incorporate the renewables, natural gas, hybrid and other energy segments to play significant roles. We need to alter our energy mix and work in parallel on improving energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is one of the key elements in changing the dynamics of our energy mix and thus it is essential to manage the energy resources carefully as we waste quite a bit of our energy resources.

We cannot ask our citizens to limit their aspirations that come with an improved standard of living but instead it is vital that we improvise our infrastructure, technology, and we innovate. For example, we need to create world class transportation infrastructure which will allow the citizens to commute hassle free and yet limit the carbon footprint. We need to introduce a mandate for incorporating higher standards for cars, for air conditioning equipment, etc. and thus improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. It is vital to implement and execute initiatives such as the one introduced by the government of India - the shift to Bharat VI with respect to the fuel requirements and embracing EURO VI norms has been one of the most effective decisions by the government. Even the city gas distribution is an excellent downstream initiative and we now need to bring it to more and more places. We need to encourage the usage of CNG and expand the benefits of cooking gas to a wider number of families so that they move away from burning wood and solid bio mass.

We are witnessing progress, but we cannot lose our focus because as our standard of living and our population increases, our energy intensity will also grow tremendously.

OAJ - Given India’s early stage of economic development, low per-capita emissions and its large population, there is significant scope for its emissions to increase, according to you, how should the industrialist come forward to work together in order to achieve the projected targets?
Bhandari : As we discussed earlier, the challenges in front of us are enormous but it is critical to address the challenge because we need to comprehend the kind of environment we are leaving for the next generation. Growth and environment needs to be balanced in order to build a safe and healthy environment for the coming generations.

The Xynteo 2022 foundation is a good example wherein companies not just from India but all the across the globe are coming together to create practical solutions to address the critical challenges faced by us. Work is ongoing on solutions to make the coal power plants significantly more efficient, different ways to recycle the plastic so that we aren’t utilising the raw materials – petrochemicals to generate the plastics, bringing in the technology that will cut down the nitrogen emission even in the CNG buses and to get down to as close to zero as we can. Thus, the opportunity clearly exists and in many cases the technology also exists, which needs to be implemented and executed well. Technology will deliver once the stake holders come to define the problem correctly and the opportunities companies have to work together to come to deliver this.

OAJ - I would like to ask you here, when we talk about developing technologies and the companies coming forward, does the commercial viability is one of the issue for the organisations and how do they think of addressing this issue?
Bhandari :If I had to say in this scenario, there are three things which may help the cause. Firstly, I do agree that policy needs to be upgraded and stronger standards need to be established. For example, globally, many governments are passing policies around no flaring which means the companies cannot flare and will have to find a way to capture the flare, compress and utilise it is as compressed CNG. It is thus important that we improve our policies which will in turn pave way for viable commercial solutions.

Secondly, as part of this, companies themselves have to be aware that technology and solutions exists but some of them may have longer payback. Solar is good example - one investment in solar and storage can have paybacks of five to six years and though this payback may seem long, companies must proactively make this investment. I believe since we are talking about building a safe and healthy environment for the coming generations, the solutions just need not be embraced by only companies or any industrial plant but it needs to be embraced by every aspect of the society and of course, the solutions exists for every segment - whether it is a commercial building or a large manufacturing plant.

Thirdly, the technology in India has to stay grounded and look for local solutions. The solutions that work in various parts of the world don’t mean that it will even work in India. We need to design our own solutions, practical for our environment and also cost- effective. For example, crop burning in India is a big issue leading to severe pollution but one cannot look at global solutions for crop burning, we definitely need to look for local solutions. It has to be a practical solution for a farmer in Punjab or Haryana and thus we need solutions that are accessible and affordable for the specific category. It is thus vital that technology we use, our trainings, educations and solutions has be Indian in nature and practical. I would say, we need to embrace the mind-set and terms juggad wherein one needs to think and innovate out of the box but with the available resources. In fact, it is the need of the hour.

So, summing up, I say we need to work on the three aspects in order overcome our challenges in a commercially viable manner.

OAJ - Could you throw some light on the announced portfolio of new and future advanced technologies that will assist clienteles with reducing their carbon footprint?
Bhandari: Reducing our carbon footprint is a journey that BHGE has embarked upon. I expect that over the next ten to fifteen years a variety of innovative solutions will be introduced in the industry. Of the products available currently, I previously discussed about our solutions for flare gas capture, compression and utilisation as compressed CNG.

One more example would be that we are working to make our rotating equipment such as gas turbines, compressors, pumps, etc. more efficient, thus our machines are working five to ten per cent more efficiently and are eventually contributing to lower emissions.

Another example, I would like to share relates to waste heat recovery solutions wherein we are now able to capture the waste heat generated by the boilers and other process units and recirculate this heat.

In terms of sensor technologies, we have released viable low cost methane sensors which will detect methane leaks and thus one will be able to fix it with appropriate solutions. On the digital side, we are coming up with host of solutions that are around energy management, energy efficiency, such as heat map which helps one to know about the energy flow. There are lot of noble applications and solutions we have in our portfolio today and we have committed ourselves to this journey which will continue to innovate for the future as well.

OAJ - We would request you to brief us about New Carbon Management Practice introduced by BHGE?
Bhandari : As we discussed earlier, we at BHGE are becoming better and more aware of the challenges of carbon management. BHGE would like to take the best practices from our learnings and share with our consumers, partners and the world at large. BHGE’s Carbon Management Practice is this market facing endeavour that will work with industry partners for carbon baselining and subsequent management and reduction.


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