Innovation Challenges

Challenge Owner(s)
Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell
Organiser(s) Enterprise Singapore (ESG)
Industry Type(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, ICT and Media, Marine & Offshore, Precision Engineering
Opportunities and Support Up to S$1 million of grant funding support for product development and 4 x S$25,000 prizes.
Application Start Date 3 September 2020
Application End Date 6 November 2020
Website Click here to learn more

About Challenge

Over the past century, the energy sector has been one of the significant contributors of industrial growth, fuelling our rapidly growing global economy.  Singapore has developed an extensive and integrated value chain that spans refining, crackers, petrochemicals, and specialty chemicals manufacturing that is supported by R&D and innovation. The demand in Asia for energy, chemicals, and products with specialty chemical components will remain strong over the next 5 years.

Inviting startups and SMEs from across the globe - the Energy Open Innovation Challenge, organised by Enterprise Singapore in association with energy company partners, government agencies, and innovators, is now open for applications with up to S$1 million of grant funding support for product development and 4 x S$25,000 in Startup SG grant prizes to be won! Participate today with your pitch deck!

 

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Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Marine & Offshore

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Fluid leaks are common throughout the miles of tubing, valves and other components that span most oil plants. Since these plants operate 24/7, and most of the time without any human on site to supervise, leaks are inevitable.
 
Such incidents represent increased operating costs at best and potential environmental and safety issues at worst. A simple drop of toxic fluid (ie: Phenol, Maleic Anhydride) on a walkway could cause turn into a work hazard. The goal of this project is to perform a leak detection study for the entire facility and identify areas where leak detection systems are required to improve the safety of the people, environment and the plant facilities.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We are seeking a leak mitigation plan and or solution for the plant that includes several of the following requirements:
 > Safety: Ensuring that fiedmen will not be exposed to hazardous areas 
 > Gaps: Ensuring all areas of the plant are covered by leak detectors 
 > Pro-activity: Being able to detect it when the leak happens 
 > Reducing the consequences of leaks 
 > Cost-saving: Reduce costs in terms of clean up, medical and repair
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A detailed leak mitigation plan/solution that can effectively identify high-risk areas and prevent future leaks.
Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, ICT and Media, Marine & Offshore

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Even when working together, engineers and operators of plant/facility equipment may be situated in separate locations. This makes collaborating on troubleshooting an issue difficult as they are unable to see the same thing at the same time.
 
To help with such issues, digital twins, 3D or 4D representation of a physical asset, have been proposed as a solution with many benefits. For this challenge, creating a digital twin of the facilities/equipment would help engineers and operators collaborate more effectively as they would be able to both see the issue at hand directly, thereby speeding up the troubleshooting process.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
For this challenge, we are looking for a solution in the form of a 3D/4D digital twin of our facilities and equipment to help engineers and operators collaborate efficiently even when they are in different locations. The solution should enable us to reduce costs and be more time-efficient.
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A 3D/4D digital twin of our facilities/pieces of equipment.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, ICT and Media

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
In a world where consumers are becoming accustomed to one-click online checkouts, it has become imperative for brick and mortar stores to innovate their checkout processes to create a similarly frictionless customer experience. Over the past few years, it has become evident that self-checkout POS machines are the future. Not only can they potentially shorten the average wait time for customers to checkout, but they also present opportunities for stores to cut costs and make more effective use of their employees as lesser personnel are needed to man registers.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We are seeking a comprehensive checkout model that can enhance the customer experience, increase the speed of checkout, and reduce the dependency on manpower in our petrol station convenience stores. This proposed solution should demonstrably reduce queuing time to pay and have flexibility in payment options (e.g. credit cards, mobile payments, cash, etc.). Additional benefits of this solution can also include the positive impact it will have on enhancing the petrol station’s clientele engagement.
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
Software or hardware (or both) that can be easily integrated and implemented in petrol stations to improve the guest checkout experience.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil
Industry Types(s)
ICT and Media, Security

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Man managed approaches are easy to implement but their reliability is questionable due to subjectivity in analyzing the surveillance data. Hence automating trespassing prevention is of vital importance, especially in remote locations. A secure automated trespassing detection solution is necessary to reliably provide detection but also improves data analysis to understand trespassing patterns over time.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We are seeking for technologies that can work in harsh conditions/climates with independent power and connectivity that can handle trespassing risks and other potential security threats. The proposed solution should be cost and time-efficient.
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
An automated trespassing detection and security system that is durable and can perform detection with speed and accuracy.

Challenge Owner(s)
ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Chevron Corporation
Industry Types(s)
Electronics, Energy & Chemicals

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Currently, car care service offerings mainly consist of basic checks on the customers’ car, oil changes, and car disinfections. Checking a car’s fuel consumption efficiency has never been a primary focus and there is no systematic, objective method to evaluate customers’ cars fuel efficiency against the brand’s specifications. The most common factors (but not limited to) that lead to a car’s inefficient fuel use are incorrect tire pressure, faulty air filters/oxygen sensors, misfiring spark plugs, and bad fuel injectors. These conditions are rarely flagged and properly resolved by current car care services, leading to inefficient usage of fuels and increased CO2 emissions.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We are looking for an automated technology/process that can address some of or all the following:
 > Comprehensively studies customers’ car’s condition 
 > Compares the car’s fuel consumption against optimal fuel consumption 
 > Informs the customer of the different alterations that can be done to their car to become more fuel efficient 
 > Potentially executes those alterations for the customer 
 > Quantitatively measures the improvement in fuel consumption efficiency
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
An automated technology/process that detects deficiencies in a car’s fuel efficiency and potentially handles the fixes if necessary.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Marine & Offshore

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Motor oil has a limited lifespan and needs to be changed after a specified amount of time to ensure the machine’s proper performance. While there are recycling facilities that can repurpose the used lubricant, there has been no significant impact on the volume of waste. This is due to the high costs associated with the collection and up/recycling of used motor oil that erode customers’ profit margins. As such, there is a need for a solution that sustainably collects and up/recycles used lubricants.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
The solution must address both the collection and up/recycling of the used motor oil.
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A comprehensive process for collecting and up/recycling used motor oil that is both sustainable and affordable.

Challenge Owner(s)
ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron Corporation
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Marine & Offshore, Sea Transport

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
In line with the global drive for sustainability, there is a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Sulphur, SOx, NOx, Carbon particulate matters etc) from refineries, large marine vessels and land-based power generators. While there are increased governmental regulation in mitigating the use of low grade fuels and mandating more eco-friendly refining processes, there are still plenty undiscovered innovative solutions that can further curb the greenhouse gases emitted by the production and usage of fuels.
 
There are existing solutions that aim to tackle this problem (Scrubbers for vessels and power plants, cokers, desulphurizers etc). However, the rate of adoption has been low due to its high costs and inefficiency (produces other waste products or does not significantly reduce emissions).
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We seek a comprehensive solution that would decrease the air pollutants emitted by the processing of fuel in refineries and the usage of fuels in marine vessels and land-based power generators. The solution should:
 > Be cost effective, sustainable, safe, and reliable 
 > Improve the efficiency of oil utilization 
 > Have a practical waste disposal plan if applicable
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A technology that significantly reduces air pollutants emitted by refineries, vessels, and power utilities while being cost effective.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Logistics

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Since its commercialization, lubricants have been sold to consumers in single use plastic packaging which are not easily recycled due to oil contamination. Despite initiatives (such as smartchange) to reduce the use of plastics in lubricant packaging, viable alternatives are lacking. Both the lubricant industry and consumers are grappling to find plastic alternatives for lubricant packaging for their supply to the market. The crux of the challenge lies in the safe transportation of the lubricants. Because lubricants are used in numerous industries all around the world, the packaging alternative must be durable, leak-proof, and have low air-permeability. Plastics have been utilized thus far because they are robust and ensure leak-proof storage even in the event of direct impact to the container whereas materials such as metal are easily dented and damaged.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
The proposed solution should be:
 > able to supply lubricants in an environmentally sustainable manner 
 > easily recyclable or reprocessed 
 > safely transportable
 
There should also be a significant decrease in or complete absence of plastics. Lastly, keep in mind that as lubricants have a natural tendency to absorb moisture from the air, as such any material should have low air-permeability rates. Even small amounts of moisture can be detrimental to the lubricant’s usability.
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A plastic substitute that can robustly package lubricants and be sustainable to produce.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Marine & Offshore, Precision Engineering

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Fuel storage tanks accumulate large amounts of hydrocarbon sludge, sediments, and scales that can reduce the working capacity of the tanks by taking up valuable storage space and clogging pipes. Current methods to remove hydrocarbon sludge require taking the entire system out of service and can potentially expose workers to hazardous substances. This results in a huge loss in potential revenue and increases the risk of accidents. While mechanized methods utilizing big pumps with cleaning nozzles, and tank cleaning robots have been proposed, none of these solutions are capable of cleaning the pipes and tanks without having to take the system out of service at all or for extended periods of time.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We seek a solution that can achieve the following:
  •Robotically or mechanically removes hydrocarbon sludge from tanks and pipes
 •Achieves the above without taking the system (tank/pipes) out of service
 •Eliminates direct human exposure to the hazardous substances
  
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A robotic or mechanical solution that can remove hydrocarbon sludge from tanks and pipes while they are in operation.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Environmental Services, ICT and Media

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
It is critical that storage tanks maintain their integrity over the course of their use. As the stored materials are often volatile substances, a leak or any corrosive damage to the tank can have serious consequences. Coating the tanks with protective paint to prevent corrosion may seem like a simple task, but it presents unique challenges.
 
- Firstly, there is a real possibility of toxic fumes gathering at the bottom of the tank. These toxic vapors can be harmful or even fatal to the painting crew that enters the confined space.
 
- Furthermore, the coating material itself may emanate toxic fumes during the painting process which can quickly accumulate within the tank.
 
- Lastly, as some tanks are quite large, there must be fall protection systems in place to prevent accidents.
 
While there are solutions currently in place to address these issues, they significantly increase the amount of time it takes to complete the job hence increasing the amount of time the tanks are not in use. These challenges would no longer be a factor if there was a way to remotely or autonomously paint the confined spaces without the need of human entry into the tank.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
The proposed solution should address the following:
 > Be able to remotely/autonomously paint the confined tank spaces (all directions) 
 > Does not require human entry in the tank 
 > Just as or more efficient (less time spent) as using a human crew
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A technology that is able to remotely/autonomously paint confined spaces without human entry.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Marine & Offshore

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
As the materials stored in tanks are often volatile substance, a leak or any corrosive damage on the tank can have serious consequences. Careful inspections are needed to ensure the tank’s integrity. However, this currently requires the tank to be taken out of service which results in an inefficient use of company resources. Additional tank units would be required to fill the void of those being inspected. Therefore, there is a need for a technology that can meticulously inspect running live tanks remotely or autonomously. The inspections must, at the very least, include Ultrasonic Testing (UT) and Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL).
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
The proposed solution should be able to sufficiently inspect running live hydrocarbon tanks without needing to take the tanks out of service. The solutions chosen to progress to the final rounds will be put under the following tests:
 > Inspect a running live water tank at ambient temperatures 
 > If Successful, inspect live hydrocarbon tanks without taking tanks out of service
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A technology that is able to non-disruptively inspect running live tanks.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, ICT and Media

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
When it comes to refuelling for customers' vehicles at petrol stations, there is huge potential to rely on robotics to boost operation efficiency and safety levels, while enhancing the levels of service. By developing an automated robotic refueling system, customers can enjoy a safe, swift and convenient refueling experience at the stations. Also, an automated refueling system can offer safe, reliable and consistent services to customers by reducing human intervention and accurately calibrated refueling.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We are looking for an automated solution to refueling that can substantially enhance the refueling experiences at petrol stations and efficiency for users while also decreasing on-site costs. Speed, safety and convenience are key.
 
The robot shall be able to conduct simple engagement with customer such as identifying loyalty customer, communicating promotion events, collecting customer feedback etc.
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
An automated refueling technology that is easy to implement and has the flexibility to enable future growth and development at operating stations.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Marine & Offshore

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Catalyst used in hydro-finer reactors build up over time. As part of the "cleaning" process, the reactors will have to be taken out of service, before they are filled with inert gases to ensure the safety of the worker entering the confined space. Then, the worker will manually break apart the fused catalyst particles using jackhammers, before manually removing the loosened waste. The entire process is extremely time-consuming and cost-ineffective as revenue is forgone when the equipment is taken out of service. Potential solutions - e.g., high pressure water jetting and carbodumping, have proven ineffective as they did not decrease the time needed to carry out the removal of the agglomerated catalyst.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We seek a solution (ideally robotic/mechanical) that can accomplish the following:
  •Reduce human exposure in the agglomerated catalyst removal process
 •Able to exert enough force to loosen the agglomerated catalyst for removal
 •Can achieve the above as or more efficiently than human workers
  
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A robot that can efficiently remove agglomerated catalysts in inert, confined environments with little to no human involvement.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Marine & Offshore

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
The integrity of a hydrocarbon storage tank is of utmost importance as the stored substances can be highly volatile. Therefore, it is critical for companies to regularly inspect the tanks to check for any signs of corrosion. Current solutions require the tanks to be taken off the running process plant for prolonged periods of time  before using equipment to scan the bottom plate of the tank. If the plate is thinner than the specified standard, that would mean corrosion has occurred and replacement/repairs need to be done. However, this is a very time-intensively and cost-ineffective procedure.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We are looking for a robotic/mechanical solution that can achieve the following:
  •Measure the thickness of the storage tank’s bottom plate or identify corrosion on the bottom place  while the tank is in operation
 •Able to fully maneuver in a tank with >300mm of sludge
  
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A robot/machine that can reliably check for corrosion in the hydrocarbon storage tank while the tank is in operation.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, Marine & Offshore

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
To ensure plants remain safe and operational, various measurements (pressure, temperature, wall thickness, liquid hold-up etc.) are done in the facilities for maintenance and optimization purposes. However, these measures are time-consuming and costly, as they are labour intensive and require a lot of equipment.
 
Automating the process, for instance by using a nanotechnology particle to inject upstream in the pipelines, would be a game-changing solution that reduces and saves time while ensuring the quality of the measured data remains the same.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We are looking for a solution in the form of, but not limited to, a nanotechnology particle which can be injected upstream into our pipelines to collect various data (pressure, temperature, wall thickness, liquid hold-up etc.) that would enable us to evaluate and monitor the state of the facilities. The solution should reduce time spent on the measurements while reducing associated equipment costs.
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A nanotechnology particle, or a similar technology, that can be inserted upstream into pipelines and make measurements in a more time and cost-efficient manner.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil
Industry Types(s)
ICT and Media, Professional Services

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Extracting information from multiple and diverse documents (ie tabular format in PDFs, texts in docs, Excels, etc) can be time-consuming with the overwhelming volume of data, sometimes unstructured, generated at such immense speed. Manual processes are dominating the current methodology, which increases the chances of error and slows down productivity. In order to derive actionable insights from different data sources, it is necessary to provide a technology-based methodology, using Artificial Intelligence and/or Machine Learning, to build a tag/equipment/asset register with all the characteristics and attributes from documents and unstructured data.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
Implement AI and/or ML approaches to the current methodology in order to to achieve higher accuracy, completeness for data extraction with minimal to none manual intervention.
 
Here are some examples of what documents and unstructured data you can start with:
 > The tabular format in pdf 
 > Text in .docs 
 > Excels in mixed formatting 
 > Both text-based and image-based data
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
To use AI and ML approaches and provide solutions to data extraction of multiple documentation and unstructured data that can be easily implemented in the workplace

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
ICT and Media, Land Transport, Logistics, Sea Transport

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
Working with ISO tank trucks requires a heavy logistics system to identify, track and monitor all vehicles of the fleet. Currently, most of these tasks are performed manually by various stakeholders, meaning that the risk for human error is high, not 100% efficient, and can occur at many different stages of the process. Such errors are not only time-consuming to fix but costly and potentially dangerous.
 

For instance, pain point areas where the risk for error is high and procedure would need to be improved include:

•ISO truck identification: wrongly matching the ISO truck number during various stages of the process. This can be an issue during the loading/unloading of trucks for example, as loading/unloading the wrong ISO truck can lead to safety and environmental risks.
 •Data collection on the fleet: data on the location of ISO trucks are handled manually by third party logistics service providers (3PLs), increasing the risk for inaccuracy

 •Planning and scheduling the use of ISO trucks: these tasks are handled by several 3PLs who each have their area of responsibility, making the process complex and lengthy

 

REQUIREMENTS

 

We are looking for solutions that can address one or multiple of the below statements:
 > Automate remote tracking and monitoring to reduce human error 
 > Improve truck transfer KPIs by reducing time spent on reporting and analysis 
 > Improve planning and scheduling and integrate data throughout the process 
 > Increase efficiencies and cost from 3PL service providers 
 > Reduce the numbers of ISO tanks and fleet
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A technology that can efficiently, accurately, and cost effectively identify, monitor and track ISO tank containers.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Services, ICT and Media, Marine & Offshore

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
LNG plants are large, complex facilities which operate within a hazardous environment. The development of a digital twin is key to delivering greater advancements in operator training, work scoping and the management of simultaneous operations without having to leave the office environment.
 
Digital twins offer a virtual representation of the physical facility, presenting stakeholders with the opportunity to evaluate work plans, identify underlying risks and run work scenarios in a safe and measured environment. Operating staff and managers can also access this model in a user-friendly interface to view real-time information and statuses that help carry out any processes in the facility as required.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
Combining data processing, and aerial and grade level photography, the 3D digital twin should enable a virtual walkthrough of the LNG facility to facilitate, at the minimum, the following processes:
 > Planning and Field scoping 
 > Scenario training for emergency responses 
 > Operator competency training 
 > Remote visit by external parties and stakeholders
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
A solution that provides a 3D virtual walkthrough of the entire LNG facility (a digital twin) that does not require taxing operational or computational resources.

Challenge Owner(s)
Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips
Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, ICT and Media, Professional Services

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
 
The energy industry operates equipment inspections and monitoring according to strict standards that primarily aim to keep equipment running with efficiency while maintaining workplace safety. Conforming to these industry standards and at the same time, maintaining a safe workplace for workers is challenging as the situation currently incurs high production downtime and maintenance cost.
 
Enabling in-service inspections are of great advantage to counter these issues, but we have to take into consideration the potentially expensive mobilisation and deployment of in-servicing technologies’ costs.
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
We are seeking to improve equipment inspection and servicing works. The proposed solution must be able to inspect / monitor equipment such as pipelines and or tanks without needing to take them out of service.
 
DESIRED SOLUTION
 
An efficient tank/pipeline monitoring system that efficiently and cost effectively inspects equipment and prevents workplace accidents