COP26: EIC's Supply Chain Case Study Series - Rotork (Day 11)

COP26: EIC's Supply Chain Case Study Series - Rotork (Day 11)

11 Nov 2021

The EIC's Supply Chain Case Study Series highlights key EIC Survive and Thrive Insight Report case studies all throughout COP26, highlighting the success stories of the energy sector in decarbonisation and innovative new energy transition technologies.

On Day 11 we look at how Rotork is energised by ESG.

How is Rotork thriving?

Faced with a cohort of clients rapidly turning attentions towards energy transition projects under growing ESG-related pressures, Rotork has methodically adapted in order to thrive. By identifying the potential in repackaging its existing products for deployment in new sustainable markets, the firm has successfully installed thousands of its electric actuators and instruments across hydrogen, CCUS and methane emission reduction projects.

The challenge

Arguably no word has been more influential in the past decade than sustainability. These six syllables have risen to the top of the agenda in corporate, governmental and social spheres as company and consumer awareness of the long term impact of certain actions and choices continues to grow.

Enter environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) – the key criteria used to measure the size and shape of footprints being left by organisations on the world around them.

In the energy industry, ESG has become a defining standard. Shareholders and investors today demand ethical operations, a reality that leading mission-critical flow control and instrumentation solutions provider Rotork has become to witness firsthand.

An enterprise that continues to innovate in response to the roadmaps and challenges of its clients, Rotork has seen ESG rise to the fore and become a central pillar of many of its customers’ strategies.

In this face of this changing dynamic and in order to support the ambitions of its clients, Rotork has had to follow suit and adapt its own offering, repurposing its technologies for a growing swathe of energy transition projects. Indeed, failure to do so would almost certainly result in declining revenues.

The solution

To better understand this shift in sentiment and the resultant changes in the market, Rotork commissioned a study on energy transition last year, the core purpose of which was to discover how energy transition may impact the firm moving forwards.

Starting from this base, the firm initially needed to answer some key questions.

What would be the long-term implications? Where did the company need to consider adapting? Were there areas in which Rotork could expand its offering in order to participate? And others where its existing portfolio might be well placed to offer an immediate contribution?

Through its unwavering curiosity and extensive evaluation, the firm identified a set of key focus areas upon which its energy transition strategy could be built: hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and methane emission reduction.

In these three segments its existing product portfolio could make immediate contributions – its electric actuators, for example, could improve methane-emitting skid conversion processes versus pneumatic or hydraulic alternatives.

The key challenge was delivering this shift in a balanced manner. While many of the company’s clients were looking towards energy transition projects, many were small scale, pilot operations that provided limited revenue opportunities.

A methodical approach was therefore taken among internal departments to prevent distraction from core operations. A handful of sales staff and a small portion of the marketing team were tasked with identifying pilot projects either under technology assessment or pursuing the conversion of existing methane-emitting assets. Meanwhile, an initial value proposition focusing on the pre-FEED and FEED stages was developed.

Indeed, the firm has succeeded in securing a number of new contracts as a result.

Many of its electric actuators are now being used in hydrogen, CCUS and methane emission reduction applications, the company having replaced thousands of choke valve actuators with innovative, solar-powered alternatives.

Indeed, its major contract win with AREVA H2Gen is a prime example.

AREVA H2Gen has a unique method of producing carbon-free hydrogen through water electrolysis, which involves the use of proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology. It is the first French manufacturer to make hydrogen generators using this method.

Rotork has equipped each of its electrolysis skids with multiple electric actuators which are mounted on globe valves and regulate the pressure and level of the water that is at the heart of the process. In order for the process to be completed successfully, very precise control is needed. Here, its CVL-500 actuators have paid dividends.

Not only were they chosen for their high movement frequency and their quick reactivity, but the fail-safe functionality of the actuators is equally important in preventing potential disaster on loss of power. Additionally, their ATEX IIC certification was a further requirement – essential in an environment where hydrogen is present. The robust design of CVL actuators also ensures that they will have a long lifetime in this application, helping to mitigate the cost by reducing the need for replacements.

Indeed, this is just one example of many that stand the company in good stead to accelerate its diversification and energy transition efforts moving forward. For 2021, further innovation is already underway, the company looking to digitalise its water applications, grow its position in the chemicals market, and expand presence in high growth emerging markets.

Combine these efforts with a potential decline in COVID as vaccination programmes gather momentum, and the future for Rotork looks increasingly bright.

About Rotork

Rotork is a market-leading global provider of mission-critical flow control and instrumentation solutions for the industrial actuation and flow control markets. These include oil and gas, water and wastewater, power, chemical process and industrial applications. The company operates across three different divisions: Oil & Gas, Water & Power, and Chemical, Process & Industrial (CPI). Rotork’s headquarters are located in Bath, England, and the company is present in 39 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Rotork has won the “2009 Flow Control Innovation Award”, as well as the “2006 Innovation and Design Excellence Award”, “Britain’s Most Admired Companies Award” and others.

Read the full EIC Survive and Thrive Insight Report here.

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