by Auxence Gros-Borot and Arnaud Reveilloux
The innovative spirit is alive and well at Vallourec, from the Group’s core businesses to new businesses such as the Energy Transition and Services lines. Our industry is rapidly evolving, and these two new teams are helping build Vallourec’s future, embracing the forward-thinking mindset and framework developed by our innovation leaders.
Energy Transition and Services are innovative teams by nature: they are refreshing our services and work methods. Right at the vanguard of the changing energy industry, these businesses work hand in hand with Vallourec’s Innovation Department to create the next generation of solutions.
Bringing structure to innovation
In 2018, the Services Product Line and the Innovation Department hit the ground running, generating ideas about what projects might make sense with Vallourec’s existing portfolio. Collaborating through a dedicated booster, they identified new business and opportunities for the Group. They built a functioning innovation infrastructure, and now can offer several working solutions to clients, including Smartengo Best Fit, Smartengo Running Expert, Smartengo Inventory, Smartengo Traceability and an E-commerce platform.
These offers combine both physical and digital services, and have been nicknamed “phygital”. They deliver optimal customer operations and asset management. They also simplify the identification and traceability of products and their journeys. All of these benefits also contribute to lower operating costs.
To keep up the momentum along with our phygital solutions, Vallourec has just announced the launch of Behub-e, our innovative global marketplace platform providing an online sales channel for sellers and buyers in the energy and industrial markets. Our goal is to make the service available to buyers by January 2022.
Fostering a creative network
Energy Transition also teams up with the Innovation Department to make the most of the Winnov platform and Open Innovation Challenge. The latter initiative invites projects around new energies and new businesses for Vallourec. It spans markets where we already bring added value, including geothermal and emerging fields like carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen injection and marine energies. It builds our network so that the Group can team up with startups and SMEs to develop new offers for these markets. The winners of the fourth edition of our challenge had the opportunity to defend their ideas in front of the Vallourec jury on November 10. Stay tuned for more information...
The solutions we are creating generate value both externally for our clients and internally for the Group. With them, we are stepping into the future, and providing a strong competitive advantage for those who implement them.
Transferring existing expertise
While Services and Energy Transition are forging new paths, they are benefiting from the industry-leading knowledge of our core business. Adapting tubes requires expert input from each of our product lines, our world-class R&D and the Innovation Department.
For example, as more energy suppliers and stakeholders turn to CCS to sequester emissions, Vallourec can support them thanks to successful tests and qualifications for our VAM® premium connections, which have been shown to withstand harsh environments, including temperatures of -80°C. Similarly, VAM® 21 was recently qualified to be used in hydrogen storage wells, and already the first sale has been made for a hydrogen project. For the geothermal market, we are currently involved in a pilot project supplying tubes with VIT Thermocase® for GreenFire in California. This partnership could lead to large supply agreements in California, as well as Japan and the Philippines.
Meanwhile, our R&D and Innovation Department have helped our Industry product line adapt their products to the market for offshore wind power. Through consistent testing and more than 1,000 trials in a year and a half, Vallourec’s X100 steel grade is now approved for the construction of floating windfarms. This material’s low-carbon content decreases the risk of cracking, while micro-alloying lowers costs. These and other examples across our product lines demonstrate our products’ unlimited potential across a wide range of applications.
Greener and safer
We take seriously our role in the energy transition. From deploying CCUS in our factories to using biocarbon at our sites in Brazil, each new practice and offer contributes to a greener future. Our new businesses are not afraid to dream big with the support of our decades of expertise behind them.
And, while today’s digital solutions are still largely operated by people, we envision a future with highly accurate and autonomous solutions. Robot technology in dangerous or stringent environments would increase productivity, efficiency and safety, eliminating the need for people to perform life-threatening tasks. There’s truly no limit to what we can do, particularly when we leverage our expertise across the entire Group.
Auxence Gros-Borot joined Vallourec in 2018 as Marketing Manager for Renewables, assuming the role of Strategic Marketing Manager for the company's ETO (Energy Transition Opportunities) organization in 2020. A graduate of the engineering school Mines ParisTech, he began his career in offshore wind as a marketing analyst at AREVA Wind. This role, which he performed for 5 years, also covered the Group's other renewable and decarbonized energies: biomass, energy storage, concentrated solar power and the back-end nuclear cycle. Auxence has also worked in a consulting role on power-to-gas hydrogen projects.
Arnaud Reveilloux holds an Engineer’s degree from Ecole Centrale Marseille. He started his career in the car industry before joining the Oil & Gas industry. He spent 15 years at Subsea 7, holding various positions in design engineering and field construction and installation activities, sales, marketing and tendering and finally led management of a new offshore subsea technology: Electrical Heating Traced Flowline (EHTF). He joined Vallourec in 2017 and now holds a Service Line role as Digital Services Delivery Director.