Research and Development for a Sustainable Future
Led by its philosophy of 'We Care', Reliance strives to make its products and services affordable and accessible for all by reducing complexity, leveraging technology, and exploring sustainable options through its Research and Development (R&D) initiatives and investments.
The Company's R&D strengths are the foundation that enables it to build the edifice of a great company that brings exceptional products and services to customers far and wide. The Company's Intellectual Capital fuels its ambition to develop innovative products, processes and catalysts to build a sustainable and profitable business. Reliance encourages new ideas, innovation, and pioneering technologies to create sustainable and long- term value for its stakeholders.
Reliance has more than 1,000 scientists and engineers to support R&D activities. The Company runs initiatives and campus recruitment drives to continually attract the best minds to expand its R&D capabilities. Reliance laboratories and R&D facilities are equipped with advanced infrastructure that provides the optimal environment to accelerate the development of innovative products and services for customers and the greater well-being of the planet, communities and the country.
R&D will build an IP portfolio to provide a long-term competitive advantage
R&D will support all technologies to create customer value with short-term as well as long-term projects
R&D will help businesses to reach all segments of society through products developed for masses
Researchers and Scientists
Patent applications filed
For Reliance's Novel Adsorbent for Dowtherm & NMP Purification & RELOX catalyst commercialisation for PET production
Reliance believes that innovation and technology will pave the way for its steady growth. The spirit of innovation is central to Reliance's value system. Innovation, a core element of the organisation's DNA enables the Company to create value for all stakeholders. As a result, the Company invests significantly in R&D efforts. The Company always looks for market opportunities and leverage its intellectual capital to tap the same. Be it inspiring the first generation of retail investors in India, setting up the world’s largest grassroots refinery, Reliance’s disruptive innovations fulfil the aspirations of millions of Indians. Its continuous innovation efforts include advancement in biological science to tackle climate change, deriving value out of waste to promote circular economy, affordable and clean energy initiatives, among many others. As a consequence of the Company's relentless efforts, it has witnessed several breakthroughs over the years. In FY 2021-22 a total of 123 patents were granted to Reliance and 152 new patent applications filed in various jurisdictions. Reliance has been granted 1,323 patents till date.
Reliance has a robust internal Intellectual Property (IP) governance framework that ensures that these patents are in close alignment with the organisation’s business objectives. The IP governance framework helps in meeting all compliance requirements in areas such as confidential information management, third party engagement management, regulatory requirements across the globe, among others.
Reliance has implemented various digital initiatives to support its R&D efforts. The R&D team has adopted a benchmarked Intellectual Property management system that provides enterprise-wide end-to-end workflow management, streamlining and automating various portfolio management processes. This system also acts as a centralised repository of various intellectual properties. The Company's R&D has implemented best-in-class Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) which is seamlessly integrated with the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). The ELN application provides scientists with a robust platform to capture and store structured and unstructured data as they conduct experiments or execute laboratory procedures. ELN user interface is flexible and can be tailored by creating experiment templates that allow the scientist to easily enter information and directly capture results from analytical instruments and barcode systems for sample lifecycle management.
The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted every economy worldwide and tested human vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, governments and businesses left no stone unturned to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on health and the economy. Reliance, a responsible organisation, leveraged its intellectual capital to contribute to the country's fight against COVID-19.
Reliance’s scientists analysed more than 1,000 genomes of the virus. The knowledge base was used to develop novel cost-effective diagnostic kits called ‘R-Green’ and ‘R-Green pro one’. These kits have received ICMR approval and showed a high degree of accuracy and specificity during validation studies. Reliance has also collaborated with IIIM-CSIR (Jammu) to develop an RT-LAMP Kit to facilitate the point-of-care diagnosis of COVID-19.
The R&D team actively contributes to the Company's technical wisdom to facilitate innovation globally by publishing research articles on diagnostics and treatment. Application of natural-astaxanthin for COVID-19 management published in ‘Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy’ journal is recognised as top 100 research paper. The paper is listed in WHO’s global repository. The flow-virometry-based method proposed by Reliance for robotics- based high-throughput sample testing has received accolades from international communities, such as the Future Virology journal.
PSA based oxygen concentrators can produce oxygen with 93% (+- 3%) purity. The unit is an excellent solution during hospitalisation situation due to COVID-19 to maintain the SpO2 level of a patient. Reliance R&D has designed oxygen generator with a purity of 90% to 95% with 5 LPM oxygen leveraging its expertise in adsorption technology. As adsorbents contribute significantly to the cost of the PSA unit, the Company’s R&D team is working extensively for in-house adsorbent development for oxygen PSA systems.
Reliance recognises that advancements in biological science could transform economies and societies to tackle climate change issue. At Reliance, the core biology stream was integrated with digital sciences and engineering for development of Next-Gen tools and eco-friendly technologies for a safe and healthy planet.
Reliance's synthetic biology platform aims for innovation-led growth via hybridising competencies developed in genetic engineering, photosynthesis, omics, big-data analytics and robotics. The platform has helped improve productivity outcomes for novel products and create new business opportunities in food, personal care and next- generation biomaterials. Reliance demonstrated robust and scalable year-round outdoor algal cultivation continuously for more than four years.
Reliance has successfully demonstrated the application of algae biomass for food and feed application in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. It has also initiated work to commercialise super protein powder from algae for various Indian and global snacks, health drinks, and texturised meat substitutes. Algal biomass produced in a sustainable way using seawater, sunlight, and CO2 was harvested and processed to develop a rich and appropriate source of highly nutritious food and feed ingredients. The ingredients have successfully replaced the prevalent and environmentally regressive fish meal ingredient from various applications.
Reliance has also developed Microbial cell factories for fermentation production of one of the strongest biomaterials such as Spider Silk for advanced fabric and personal care application. Collaboration with some of the leading personal care brands is ongoing for developing unique skin and hair care formulations using this recombinant spider silk.
The Company also leverages advanced analytical science to fast- track innovation in biology. 'Digital tongue' is an algorithm for prediction of taste of the proteins and proving enzyme-system to bias taste of food towards customer's requirement. Several ML (Machine Language) tools were developed and used in computational biology platforms to fabricate DNA to make novel products from microbial cell factories.
The CRISPR platform demonstrated genome alteration of algae and cyanobacteria using programmable nucleases. The R&D team is working relentlessly for developing molecular tools and applications of the technology for agricultural and synthetic biology product development.
The team is applying this technology for higher algal biomass and novel product development in crops that conventional methods cannot produce. The Company aims to use this path breaking technology to solve significant challenges.
Coal which cannot be mined and, if not redeemed for its value in the form of methane production, would be a waste of natural resources. Reliance's Bio CBM process is targeted at converting coal that cannot be mined to methane, which will help improve the country's energy security and even help reduce GHG emissions.
The single use plastic in food packaging and consumer goods mostly ends up in landfills. Reliance recognises the negative impact of single use plastic on the environment. Reliance is exploring sustainable solutions to reuse plastic waste to promote and adopt a circular economy to tackle this menace. The Company's R&D team and the Sustainability Solutions team in the Reliance-Petchem business have launched ReRouteTM, the only product of its kind in the market today that can be used to make bituminous concrete road surfacing using the 'dry mix' process.
The R&D team also developed net bags and bag on roll applications using biodegradable plastic. These have been tested at Reliance Retail stores. The materials showed excellent properties required for flexible as well as rigid packaging. Innovations in biodegradable plastic technology have also moved from bench scale to pilot scale development.
Reliance's low temperature continuous catalytic pyrolysis technology can convert plastic waste containing multi-layer film polymers into stable oil. The technology does not require any feed segregation or clean up. Additionally, this novel process gives a higher yield and enhanced stability. The produced stable oil can be readily processed in a refinery or petrochemical units such as FCC, Coker, Steam cracker, etc.
Reliance uses RCAT HTL technology to produce biofuel using various organic feedstock wastes to derive value from the waste. Produced biofuel can be utilised for heat and power applications or as a transportation fuel. Biofuel generated using the technology has been successfully tested in commercial engines, and the technology is ready for commercialisation. The technology has the potential to significantly contribute to the Company's Net Zero goal by achieving a 25% blend in its refining capacity.
Discarded PET based fabrics have a detrimental impact on the environment. As an essential step towards a circular economy and addressing the challenge of discarded PET based fabrics, the Company's R&D is targeting to separate PET from mixed fabric blends and convert it back to fibers and into fabric. The R&D team has also developed a process to recycle waste tyres and is exploring ways to convert waste recyclable polyester material into valuable chemicals to make polyurethane with improved physical properties. The team developed a bench process using a Reliance proprietary solvent to separate different layers of polymer. Separate layers can be recycled as per their different functionalities and processability.
Earlier, a benign process was used to recover high-value metals, vanadium and nickel, from petcoke cinder, which is a leftover by the product from entrained flow gasifiers. Hydro process demands a large quantity of acid or alkali for leaching, and pyro process involves very high temperature (> 1,700OC). The R&D team has developed a hybrid process where salt roasting at low temperature, followed by hydrometallurgical processing steps, leads to the extraction of vanadium and nickel at a significantly lower cost than the conventional process. R&D team is also pursuing various national and international collaborative projects to utilise CO2.
Approach: The Polymer R&D team developed a novel process using in-house developed chemical ‘RESOLVE’ for separation of polymer layers in multilayer packaging. The process is a simple two-step approach using ‘RELSOLVE’ separating medium and it avoids the complex multistep process involving various solvents and antisolvents for the recovery of the polymer layers.
Impact: The process helps in recovering the polymer layer in pure form without dissolution.
Industry and infrastructure
Reliance has its pulse on evolving consumer needs, and it leverages its intellectual capital to develop novel solutions for industry and infrastructure use. Following are the key initiatives undertaken by the R&D team:
Affordable and Clean Energy
Reliance believes that climate change presents an opportunity to create a healthier, happier, and sustainable planet. Affordable and clean energy options will realise this opportunity for humanity. The R&D team has been operating a large pilot facility near Jamnagar, where it converts sunlight, CO2 and seawater to renewable bio-crude. The ponds have been operating continuously without any failure for more than four years. No other organisation in the world has been able to cultivate algae without crashes and significant downtime. Reliance has developed all the technology components which will be instrumental in converting CO2 to useful products to combat climate change.
The novel catalytic process can be used to convert challenging feedstocks like high-ash Indian coal and agricultural residue into hydrogen or syngas. The Company has successfully completed plant testing of the technology with different agricultural residues and high-ash Indian coal, and 10 TPD plant capacity is being worked out.
A high temperature-polymer electrolyte membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cell system has been built and is presently being tested on simulated Reliance-Jio towers. In coming years renewable hydrogen will supply fuel cells to produce in-situ hydrogen.
Oil to Chemicals (O2C)
Fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel have a high carbon footprint impacting the environment. Having committed to a Net Zero target by 2035, Reliance strives to explore innovative options to adopt sustainable practices. Reliance's Multizone Catalytic Cracking (MCC) is an in-house disruptive innovation to generate chemical building blocks for speciality materials from refinery streams or whole crude instead of fuels. The MCC is a vital technology enabler that will help in Jamnagar's O2C transformation. The 3KBPSD MCC demo plant is in the advanced design stage and has been constructed for a demonstration before building a full-scale commercial plant.
A unique technology has also been developed to separate the aromatics BTX component from olefinic MCC gasoline and recycle the raffinate stream to MCC riser for maximising petrochemicals production.
Refining and Petrochemicals
Reliance has developed a high- capacity sodium removal adsorbent and a process to remove trace amounts of sodium from disulphide oil (DSO). This solution has been commercialised at Jamnagar. The treated DSO is being utilised in Reliance's Refinery Off-Gas Cracker (ROGC) unit replacing imported costly additive, Dimethyl disulphide (DMDS). A facility is also being developed at the JMD to transport the product to Reliance's other petrochemical sites to use them in-stream crackers.
The R&D team has developed an in-house RELOX (Reliance Oxidation) catalyst for the purification of nitrogen gas streams. The RELOX catalyst purifies nitrogen gas streams containing hydrocarbon impurities and is used in the nitrogen purification unit. The RELOX catalyst is being supplied to the PET HMD site, where production is in progress. The Company aims to use RELOX catalyst in all PET plants for nitrogen gas purification.
Thermic fluids are predominantly used in high temperature process applications between 150O C and 400O C. For the first time globally, the R&D team has developed an in-house novel adsorbent and a process for the online purification of thermic fluids. The technology has been commissioned at Dahej and Silvassa plants and is under commissioning in Hazira. Besides being superior to conventional techniques like distillation and alkali wash, this technology is environmentally friendly and cost effective.
The R&D team has developed REL-ORCAT, a proprietary catalytic technology, for olefins removal or BI reduction from aromatics rich hydrocarbon streams. The technology with its superior catalyst has the potential to replace conventionally used clay-based catalyst. The team has also developed an eco-friendly, single-step adsorptive process to purify recycling/waste MEG generated in polyester plants. Further, to maximise propylene yield, conversion and reduce the coke make, the team has developed a process for High Active FCC catalyst.
Biodegradation is the most sustainable and economical way of industrial effluent treatment, as it leads to terminal conversion of organic pollutants into microbial biomass without leaving behind toxic residues. Once established, it’s a self-regenerating system. Tailor made microbial consortia have been developed, scaled, and implemented for consistent chemical oxygen demand (COD) remediation at the polyester ETP plant at Patalganga Manufacturing Division (PMD). Similarly, a specialised microbial consortium has been implemented for COD reduction at Silvassa Manufacturing Division (SMD) for smooth and uninterrupted operations.
R&D team has developed a mixed oxide stable catalyst to convert methanol and CO2 to a high-value Di-methyl carbonate (DMC) product that can be used as a solvent and specialty chemical. The process and the catalyst have been scaled up to a pilot stage. The team has also developed a sorbent based circulating fluidised bed process for concentrating CO2 from dilute refinery and power plant flue gases. The process is protected by several patents.
Under RIL's flagship programme, Algae to Oil, the R&D team has developed a technology that utilises abundant sunlight, waste CO2 and sea water, to produce valuable products. This process has a huge potential to utilise atmospheric CO2 and convert it to a valuable green crude oil, thus reducing the carbon footprint to a significant extent and combating climate change. RIL has been operating a large pilot facility at Gagwa near Jamnagar.
Leveraging its technology investment and customer engagement, Jio has indigenously developed and launched a full stack of digital products, platforms and services for multiple ecosystems serving consumers and businesses. The Jio R&D team, with over 9,000 technical and research professionals, has developed leading technology platforms spanning 5G stack, cloud and edge compute, devices & operating systems, blockchain, IoT, mixed reality, AI / ML, secure identity and natural language processing, among others. Till date, Jio has been granted 417 patents across multiple urisdictions for the pioneering initiatives it has undertaken. In FY 2021-22 alone, the company filed for 110 patents and was granted 46. Among the key technology areas covered by these patents are vDLT (Virtual Distributed Ledger Technology), 5G User Equipment, AI for Health and Agriculture, IoT, Industrial 4.0 and AR/ VR.
Data Privacy and Security
Considering the wide range of digital services Jio offers, it is important for the company to provide a safe and secure experience while using its services. Jio always strives to assure users that their personal information is protected. To this end, data privacy, data protection, and information security form an intrinsic part of Jio's service design across the entire lifecycle.
Jio also conducts security risk assessments to evaluate and identify security flaws in services, products, and technology. It has implemented state-of-the-art security monitoring infrastructure and effective incident detection and management processes. Suspected events are analysed and verified for its impact on assets and organisation. The incident movement processes define the criticality level for every incident and are managed in line with documented processes.
Phishing is a form of Cyber-attack where Cybercriminals attempt to trick individuals by disguising as a trustworthy source. Although organisations have tried numerous ways to prevent phishing attacks, there is no full-proof solution. Therefore, employees become the last line of defence.
Several organisations use Simulation based anti-phishing exercises as a method to educate employees. However, it only assesses an employee’s susceptibility to phishing attacks which varies with every new simulation.
To address this, Reliance has developed a phishing simulation platform ‘R-phish’ to conduct anti- phishing exercises on a periodic basis and to calculate the user awareness index ‘Phishing Resistance Score (PRS)’. PRS, which is a function of multiple factors attributing to user awareness initiatives, determines user’s resistance to identifying a phishing email.
Reliance believes that innovation and technology will be key to its continuous growth. Over the years, Reliance has leveraged digital technologies and tapped business opportunities through innovative business models. Customer-centricity, care, and commitment to building a better world and India have always been at the core of its innovation and R&D efforts. The Company has always focused on developing new products at affordable prices and expanding product applications to broaden the access and reach of its offerings. Having committed to a Net Zero target by 2035, Reliance focuses on developing innovative products and solutions that contribute towards building a sustainable world.
Reliance will focus its R&D efforts to develop technologies that promote circularity and help it fulfil its ambition to build an entire green energy ecosystem. The Company will continue to focus on industry innovation to explore alternative and sustainable options for industrial and infrastructural needs.