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Innovation at Shell
We believe that human ingenuity and technology hold the key to deliver sustainable energy needed today and in the future. We have been a technology pioneer for over 100 years. Bright ideas from our people and original thinkers outside our company have resulted in some groundbreaking innovations. These are not always immediately visible to the public: some are in wells underground, for example, and others are in oceans. But they all contribute to meeting the needs of our customers and partners.
People and organisation
We have 45,000technical and engineering staff worldwide. Our global network of technical centres located close to our main markets and our production sites drive forward the innovation needed to meet future energy challenges.
Around 10% of our technical staff conduct research and development at our technology centres in 11 countries. Their knowledge and creativity help us to meet the world’s growing need for energy in a socially and environmentally responsible ways.
Our internationally recognised Chief Scientists help to enhance the expertise of our staff and act as ambassadors for Shell technology, collaborating with academics and other industry experts to lead the way in their area of expertise. They work with our Chief Technology Officer to develop and deliver technologies that support our current business and to identify emerging technologies that will help shape the future of energy.
Collaboration & open innovation
At Shell, we recognise that no single company can develop all the products and technologies needed to meet the world’s growing demand for energy, with less environmental impact. We work closely with industry partners and recognised experts to spark new ideas, share knowledge and speed up the development of new concepts. This includes unusual collaborations beyond our own industry. We also welcome creative ideas to help tackle this challenge from outside contributors. Our approach is called “open innovation”.
Shell’s GameChanger programme invites original thinkers to share their ideas for resolving energy challenges. If we think a concept has potential, we can provide financial support to prove its feasibility.
Since 1996 GameChanger has invested more than $300 million in more than 3,000 ideas and helped turn 250 of them into successful projects. These include early support for FLNG, a giant floating facility that cools natural gas to liquids at sea. Shell has started building the world’s first FLNG vessel, which has the potential to revolutionise the way natural gas resources are developed.
Shell Technology Ventures
The Shell Technology Ventures team invests in companies across the energy sector to speed up the development and deployment of new technologies which complement our business. It works closely with entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, as well as the venture capital firms who invest in them.
Shell TechWorks is a new innovation programme designed to tap into existing innovation networks and accelerate the delivery of technologies that solve specific Shell challenges. It will take advantage of expertise from within the oil and gas industry, as well as other sectors such as aerospace, defence, IT and medical. It also aims to help encourage Shell to look externally, as well as internally, for expertise and new ideas.
The programme’s first location, Shell TechWorks Boston, is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Researching around the world
Thousands of top Shell researchers are hard at work finding ways to meet the challenge of delivering affordable energy with less environmental impact. We have three major technology centres in the USA, the Netherlands and India. These locations are important for our business and allow us to easily access world class scientists and engineers. Smaller technology centres and offices throughout the world also provide support from locations close to our partners and customers.
Investing in the future
Our sizeable investment in research and development helps turn ideas into reality. Shell has been the largest investor in research and development among the major international oil firms for the last five years. In 2012 we spent $1.3 billion on the research and development of technologies that will be needed to produce more and cleaner energy, and more efficient fuels and products for our customers.