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Chairman’s report

Didier Houssin



Interview with Didier Houssin,

Chairman and CEO of IFPEN


Preparing for the future by building on IFPEN’s successes

"There is a determination to accelerate and reinforce IFPEN’s focus on new energies and to move towards the complete self-funding of activities conducted within the context of the responsible oil and gas strategic priority, in line with our objectives and performance contract."


The national priorities concerning the energy transition are clear. The presentation of the French Climate Plan in July 2017 set out the roadmap that will make France a carbon-neutral country by 2050. Reflecting ambitions on a European level and the commitments of COP 21, this plan reinforces the objectives defined by the law relative to the energy transition for green growth. IFPEN is fully in step with these objectives and is in the process of a radical change.
There is a determination to accelerate and reinforce IFPEN’s focus on new energies and to move towards the complete self-funding of activities conducted within the context of the responsible oil and gas strategic priority, in line with our objectives and performance contract.
Reflecting this commitment, the creation of an Open Innovation and Incubation division at IFPEN in 2017 is aimed at increasing the company’s diversification into new energy technologies, via a more open approach to innovation and the reinforced transfer of our R&I results in this field. This new division is currently overseeing the in-house participative innovation challenge launched in September to “reinvent energies”. The 167 ideas submitted illustrate the creativity and mobilization of IFPEN’s employees to help us develop and grow in new sectors. These forward-looking ideas will enable IFPEN to contribute to the construction of new industrial sectors in the fields of new energies and sustainable mobility.
There were numerous highlights for IFPEN Group in 2017, including the creation of two new players. Firstly, IFPEN launched DriveQuant, a start-up company marketing a range of connected mobility services, stemming from its research activities. Secondly, Mavel edt was created by IFPEN and its partners Mavel and Weisa Automobile Technology Limited to launch short production runs of innovative electric engines for private vehicles. Inaugurated in April, its production line is already supplying its first customers. IFPEN is also helping to maintain the group’s technological competitiveness. For example, the merger between Axens, Heurtey Petrochem and Eurecat, finalized in 2017, provides a platform for positioning the new entity across all segments covering refining, petrochemicals, gas, biofuels and biochemistry. The new group will achieve a turnover of €1 billion in 2018. IFPEN Group’s other companies are beginning to fare better, with clear signs of an upturn, heralding an improved outlook.
Another challenge for IFPEN - and one that is particularly important to me - is that of the digital transformation. A major reflection process was conducted throughout 2017 covering all of the company’s sectors; it culminated in the definition of an ambitious action plan. Digital technology will allow IFPEN to reach new levels of performance in terms of collective efficiency, agility and reactivity. It represents a cultural change as well as an opportunity to expand our R&I offer in our various fields of activity, with new tools, methods and services focused, in particular, on data and data-processing, to address the needs of industry.
2017 also marked the fiftieth anniversary of our Lyon site. It was an opportunity to join together with our supervisory authorities and main industrial and academic partners to celebrate half a century of successful human adventure, which began with some thirty or so people and is still continuing today with more than 800 employees. Partners who emphasized the special nature of the IFPEN model, i.e., our capacity to establish useful bridges between fundamental research, applied research and industrial development to serve innovation. Today, IFPEN-Lyon is a benchmark player in a number of fields, including catalysis and eco-efficient processes, and contributes to the creation of value and jobs across the territory. We will continue to support local SMEs and start-ups and help drive the growth of new energy transition and sustainable mobility sectors.
Proud of its past successes, IFPEN is now resolutely focused on the future. At this point, I invite you to discover the priorities, challenges and highlights of 2017 as presented in this document. Whether they concern vehicle electrification, bio-based chemistry, biogas, wave energy or water cycle management, IFPEN’s researchers have made major advances in numerous fields.

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