Citadel of Innovation


CRDC is where nascent ideas germinate and flourish into full-fledged innovations. This “Citadel of Innovation” is where the ceaseless quest for excellence enables us to be at the forefront of science and technology for development of cleaner fuels, superlative petroleum products, class-leading industry-specific solutions, and furtherance of sustainable energy.

CRDC has three laboratory blocks housing several niche laboratories, one process scale-up laboratory and various utility blocks. Apart from deriving electrical power from an external power utility company, CRDC has a grid connected 1.05 MW solar power plant for captive electricity generation, which powers CRDC during office hours.

The existing built up area of 15,690 square meters of the CRDC complex, consisting of laboratory facilities, storage areas and other related facilities, is being increased to 22,860 square meters with the addition of new infrastructure.


Research at CRDC

In the initial years, CRDC put lot of thrust in developing catalysts and refinery support work. However, with growing intellectual strength, CRDC expanded its horizon to several other research areas such as corrosion, fouling, engine testing, modeling & simulation, biotechnology, process development, reactor designing, polymers & petrochemicals and alternative energy.


Research Strategy

The primary focus of CRDC has always been industrial R&D and applied research to support its business lineup, rather than basic research. Both short-term and long-term projects are undertaken, while a few high-priority projects are pursued in mission mode. In late 2017, a new R&D strategy framework was conceptualized in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The objective of this new framework is to pursue various R&D domains with different optimal research strategies.


Advanced Chemistry for Greener Solutions

Pivoted around sustainability, new and improved chemistries developed at CRDC not only foster greener process paths with greater environment-friendliness, but also yield superior products. Similarly, advanced reactor designs offer higher efficiencies, greater flexibility, reduction in waste and an overall reduced environmental impact.


R&D Facilities

CRDC is a confluence of various domains of science and technology, comprising of fully equipped laboratories for in-house cutting-edge research and development.

The Centre has the following state-of-the-art research laboratories at CRDC:

  • Analytical Lab
  • Catalyst Lab
  • Biofuels Lab
  • Residue up-gradation Lab
  • Corrosion & Fouling Lab
  • Polymer & Petrochemicals Lab
  • Engines & Alternate Energy Lab
  • Process Development Lab
  • Modeling & Simulation
  • Separations Lab

Analytical Lab

The analytical laboratory of CRDC acts as a backbone for all Business units of BPCL, while also catering to the analytical and fuel-testing requirements of internal R&D projects.

Core Areas:

  • Analytical method validation
  • Product testing management
  • Laboratory data reporting and analysis management


  • Analytical method validation, quality control tests.
  • Industry standard calibration.
  • Product testing (with programmes, structures and formulations); product specifications and parameter setting; advanced data analytical methods; developing test summary reports; use of software tools in extracting and analysing test data.
  • International quality management; knowledge of legislation and industry Codes of Practice (COP) for quality; Quality Management Systems (QMS); Quality assurance and quality control (QA&QC); product qualification, advanced statistical analysis; quality monitoring; and quality system audit management.

The laboratory facilities that the Analytical group has at its command are:

  • CHNSO analyzer
  • Fourier transform near-infrared spectroscopy (FT-NIR)
  • Fourier-transform nuclear magnetic resonance (FT-NMR)
  • Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectrophotometer
  • UV visible NIR spectrophotometer
  • WD-XRF
  • Atmospheric distillation unit
  • Energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF)

Catalyst Lab

Catalyst development has been a major strategic thrust area for CRDC. Apart from research and developmental work. Other major functions undertaken by the Catalyst laboratory are evaluation of vendor catalysts and making recommendations in this respect to the refineries; assessment of the health assessing health of the in-use catalysts for FCC, HDS, SRU, CCU, HCU etc. and MTBE catalysts evaluation and suggesting recommendations.

Core Areas:

  • Providing continuous advanced technical support to refinery
  • Development of new catalyst technologies and products
  • Catalysts for production of synthetic fuels


  • Hands-on experience in synthesis and characterization of zeolite and non-zeolite based catalysts
  • Expertise in designing experiments, operation of bench scale units and pilot plants for catalyst evaluation
  • Expertise in scale-up and commercialization of catalysts
  • Well conversant with sophisticated analytical instruments used for material characterization

Major equipment and facilities used at the state-of-the-art catalyst laboratory are presented here, some of which reflect their full-scale counterparts in the production plants:

  • Dual reactor system with batch distillation (biphenyl unit)
  • Catalyst testing unit (twin fixed bed reactor system)
  • LOBS pilot plant (high pressure dual reactor system)
  • Two stage counter current FCC
  • Hydrocracker / LOBS bench scale unit
  • Reforming / isomerization bench scale unit
  • Steam deactivation unit
  • Attrition Unit
  • LOBS bench scale unit
  • DHDS bench scale testing unit
  • High pressure bench scale catalyst testing unit
  • Micro activity test (MAT) unit

Biofuels Lab

Biofuels lab, with a capable team of scientists and knowledge base, has been established in view of emerging importance of biotechnology. The equipment and facilities used at the biofuel lab bridges the domains of biology and chemistry. The thrust is on developing novel bioprocesses for the production of biofuels and biochemicals.

Core Areas:

  • Development of novel bioprocesses
  • Production of biofuels and biochemicals
  • Bio-Refineries


  • Advanced biotechnology
  • Biochemical engineering
  • In-house ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass
  • Development of microbial consortia
  • Biodiesel production from algae

Major equipment facilities at the biofuel laboratory are:

Fermentation - Anaerobic Workstation, Biosafety Cabinet, Bio fermentor, ULPA Biosafety Cabinet

Molecular Biology - PCR Thermocycler, RT-PCR, FPLC, DGGE, Electrophoresis (Horizontal & Vertical), Gel Doc System

Biomass Pre-treatment - HTHP Reactor, Microwave digester

Analytical Instruments - HPLC, UPLC, Fluorescent Microscope, Phase Contrast Microscope

Others - High Speed Ultra-Centrifuge, Humidity chamber, Incubator shakers, Illuminated Incubator shakers for algae, Cold Room facility, Ultra Low Temperature Freezers etc.


Residue Up-gradation Lab

It is all about finding wealth from the tail end of refining process.

Core Areas:

  • Improved modified bitumen varieties
  • Fuel-resistant bitumen
  • Delayed Coker studies, including:
    • Identification of suitable feedstock and optimization of process parameters for needle coke production
    • Evaluation of potential additives for distillate yield improvement
    • Evaluation of additive for reduction of sulfur in petcoke
    • Fouling studies in preheater furnace in DCU


  • Testing and characterization of bitumen as per BIS and ASTM/ AASHTO lab standards
  • Development of improved modified bitumen e.g. Polymer Modified Bitumen (PMB), Crumb Rubber Modified Bitumen (CRMB) and Performance Grade Bitumen (PG), Fuel Resistant Bitumen (FRB) to cater to the growing demand of high quality bitumen.

The equipments and facilities used in residue upgradation lab are given here:

  • Delayed coker pilot plant (DCU)
  • Ageing oven
  • Bending beam rheometer
  • Ductility unit
  • Fraass breaking instrument
  • Penetrometer
  • Softening point tester
  • Automatic stability analyzer
  • Batch desalting unit

Corrosion & Fouling Lab

Corrosion and Fouling Laboratory at BPCL Corporate Research & Development Centre is a Centre of Excellence for dealing with corrosion, fouling and phase separation challenges. The major objective of the laboratory is to resolve the corrosion problems in BPCL Refineries, Marketing SBUs and Pipeline division, recommending suitable solutions and taking proactive measures.

Core Areas:

  • Corrosion failure analysis – metallurgical studies
  • Pipeline internal corrosion studies
  • Development and commercialization of cost-effective corrosion inhibitors and specialty chemicals
  • Rust preventive/corrosion protective coatings/paints
  • Developing innovative techniques to monitor corrosion in non-aqueous media
  • Microbiological corrosion
  • Heat exchangers fouling studies
  • Corrosion and fouling related issues with crude compatibility


  • Corrosion chemistry
  • Corrosion metallurgy
  • Biofouling

Corrosion and Fouling lab has variety of experimental facilities and pilot plants. The facilities are based on various international standards (ASTM and NACE) as well custom made. It includes:

  • Cooling tower pilot unit
  • Autoclave for corrosion studies
  • Electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance
  • Electrochemical system
  • Interfacial tensiometer
  • Microscope for metallurgical studies
  • Overhead corrosion system
  • Phase separation unit
  • Pipeline flow loop
  • Rotating cage equipment
  • Rust-preventive characteristics analyzer

Polymer & Petrochemicals Lab

The lab carries out research and development in the fast-expanding field of polymers and petrochemicals.

Core Areas:

  • Polymers
  • Petrochemicals
  • Superabsorbent Polymers
  • Rheology modifiers
  • Pour point depressants


  • Polymer chemistry
  • Polymer engineering

Some of the equipment used here are:

  • SAP pilot plant
  • SAP Grinder
  • Pulverizor
  • Gel permeation chromatography (GPC)
  • Metal/ glass reactor (high pressure and high temperature)

Engines & Alternate Energy Lab

The Engines & Alternate Energy laboratory carries out research & development in the areas of solar power, biomass gasification, LPG burner efficiency improvement, low grade energy utilization, alternate fuel performance evaluation and testing of fuel additives in engines.

Core Areas:

  • Structural, thermal and fluid flow modeling
  • Prototype preparation as per optimized design and validation in experimental platforms
  • Evaluation of performance and emissions of various fuels formulations
  • Testing of fuel additives in engines
  • Biomass gasification
  • LPG burner efficiency improvement
  • Waste heat recovery from flue gases/process streams
  • Scalable hydrogen-based energy solutions, solar-driven electrolyzers, carbon capture & utilization techniques, and energy storage devices


  • Capability to explore and conceptualize design ideas
  • Simulations, analysis and engineering calculations
  • Testing and evaluation domain expertise

Research, designing, testing and evaluation is performed here using a host of high-tech equipment and advanced facilities. Some of them are as follows:

  • SI engine
  • CI engine
  • Dynamometer
  • Portable auto exhaust digas analyzer
  • Smokemeter
  • Thermal efficiency test setup for LPG gas burner
  • Biomass pyro-gasification facility
  • Ansys Mechanical, Creo Parametric

Process Development Lab

Process Development group is actively involved in developing new processes and designing new technologies.

Core Areas:

  • Development of novel reactor configurations for hydroprocessing applications
  • Multiphase flow studies
  • Heterogeneous reaction kinetics and separation processes
  • Heat and mass transfer studies
  • Dimethyl ether development project


  • In-depth understanding of refinery processes
  • Modeling new processes
  • Designing and testing new prototypes
  • Scale-up studies and building demonstration scale units
  • Computational Fluid dynamics
  • Reaction Kinetics

Some major equipment and state-of-the-art facilities utilized by this team are listed here.

  • Cross flow reactor pilot plant
  • Cross flow set-up
  • Bench scale unit for syngas to chemical
  • Bench scale unit for gas to liquid studies
  • FT pilot plant
  • High-pressure CSTR unit
  • Temperature programmed desorption, reduction, oxidation and chemisorption unit
  • High-pressure high-temperature batch reactor
  • High-throughput unit

Modeling, Simulation Lab

Research in this area focuses on development of rigorous simulation and optimization tools for refinery processes. The tools and simulation models developed are in extensive use for refinery wide optimization, catalyst and additive selection, trouble shooting, scale-up and design.

Core Areas:

  • Development of rigorous simulation and optimization tools for refinery processes
  • Root cause analysis and troubleshooting of refinery units.
  • Prediction of Asphaltene precipitation behavior for crude oil blend compatibility and blend optimization
  • Real-time crude assay for monitoring and dynamic optimization of Crude Distillation Units
  • Selection of heavy and opportune crude oils and co-process in refineries, FCCU, Reforming, MTBE, NHT-ISOM, Furnace models, DHT/DHDS, Hydrocracking, DCU, etc.


  • Specialized software development capabilities (BPMARRK®, K Model, etc.)
  • AI-based evaluation and characterization
  • Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) models

Some of the key systems used at this facility are:

  • Aspen Plus/ Hysys
  • Star CCM+

Separations Lab

CRDC has main thrust to develop novel process intensification systems to upgrade the existing conventional separation technologies in oil refining sector. Separation group has been instrumental in developing various technologies and strategies which are energy efficient, low in capital and operational costs.

Core Areas:

  • Hydrogen purification and vapor recovery through membrane
  • Product transmix separation
  • Removal of dissolved oxygen from Boiler Feed Water (BFW)


  • Designing and testing new prototypes
  • Scale-up studies and building demonstration scale units
  • Providing advanced technological solutions & troubleshoot operational issues at Refineries

Some of the key systems used at this facility are:

  • HiGee pilot plant for vacuum deaerator
  • Multipurpose membrane system
  • Two stage fixed bed reactor system with GC
  • Liquid extraction