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Driving innovation

In 2022, we spent $1,067 million on research and development (R&D), compared with $815 million in 2021. We also started work on more than 250 R&D projects with universities, compared with more than 180 in 2021.

Our R&D activities are key to achieving our net-zero emissions target. In 2022, our R&D expenditure on projects that contributed to decarbonisation was around $440 million, representing about 41% of our total R&D spend, compared with around 40% in 2021. This includes expenditure on reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

  • for our customers through renewable power generation, storage, e-mobility and other electrification solutions;
  • from our own operations, for example, by improving energy efficiency and electrification;
  • from the fuels and other products we sell to our customers – for example, biofuels, synthetic fuels and products made from low-carbon electricity, and hydrogen produced using renewable sources;
  • by carbon capture, utilisation and storage applied to hydrogen production from natural gas and other carbon emissions; and
  • by researching nature-based solutions to offset emissions.

Examples of R&D activities other than decarbonisation include safety, performance products such as lubricants and polymers, robotics, automation and artificial intelligence.

In 2022, we opened our Energy Transition Campus Amsterdam, formerly one of our six Shell Technology Centres. The campus provides offices, laboratories and testing facilities for start-ups, research institutions, academia and companies to work together on solutions for lower-carbon energy. Around 1,000 people from 50 countries are currently working on projects at the campus.

One such project is a collaboration between Shell and Dow to electrify steam cracking furnaces with renewable energy. Steam cracking is one of the most carbon-intensive processes in petrochemical production. The project could reduce Scope 1 emissions associated with cracking furnaces by 90% compared with conventional crackers.

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