an engineer thinking about the fourth industrial revolution

Reading time: 11 min

An industrial revolution is characterized by the appearance of new technologies that will signify a profound change in the structure of society and in the economic model. Users' access to the internet and to technological devices, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and machine learning have resulted in a Fourth Industrial Revolution, which may represent an empowerment of humans through the use of machines. 

Technology associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Some emerging technologies are fundamental for this Fourth Industrial Revolution to take place. The majority of the professions of the future will handle one of these disruptive technologies in one way or another. Let’s see some examples:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): the Internet of Things refers to technology that connects objects in our daily lives to the internet in order to facilitate our daily tasks. This growing trend is being integrated into our lives through our cars, household appliances, and more. 
  • Artificial intelligence and cognitive computation: cobots are collaborative robots designed to interact with humans in work environments. They are applied in automated industrial processes to optimize production and prevent workers from carrying out risky tasks.
  • Big Data: in Industry 4.0, the interpretation and combination of quantities of data facilitates the decision making of companies. So the application of Big Data improves the production and storage processes, shows predictions of demand, and helps to define commercial strategies.
  • Augmented and virtual reality: thanks to technological advances and the application of the internet in devices, we will be able to live an immersive and multi-sensory experience with the arrival of Mark Zuckerberg's "Metaverse", a shared virtual space where we will be able to socially and economically relate as avatars.
  • Computation in the cloud: cloud services are environments that store, administer, and process databases, servers, and networks. For example, virtualization in the cloud allows simulated and secure environments to be created, while decentralization makes it possible for machines to make autonomous decisions. 

Repsol and Industry 4.0

At Repsol, we are proud to be the first company in the sector to set a target of Net Zero Emissions by 2050. To meet our commitment to the energy transition and decarbonization, we have an Industrial Digital Program for the transformation of the company that is fundamentally supported on four lines. 

  • The first is based on a comprehensive vision of all departments and processes in industrial plants. 
  • The second line works towards autonomous plants that improve the efficiency and safety of processes. 
  • The third manages the plants and processes under the premise of zero unexpected breakdowns by applying the Internet of Things. 
  • Lastly, the fourth line relies on technology to help people make decisions.

At Repsol, we have more than 280 initiatives to implement and execute our Cross-company Digitalization Program

Out of them, more than 100 focus on the industrial area with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint in the whole value chain. 

These four major lines contribute to the generation of new skills, tools, and technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, the automation of operations, and mass sensing. Moreover, at Reposl, we rely on a cloud-use strategy and the performance of communications networks.

Repsol plant in Bilbao

New native digital plants: the Decarbonization Hub

At Repsol, we have seven large industrial complexes that we are converting into circular multi-energy hubs to generate low, zero, or even negative carbon footprint fuels and materials.

With the aim of advancing in our target of Net Zero Emissions by 2050, we have launched the Energy Decarbonization and Circular Economy Hub, which works primarily on the conceptualization of the new plant in Bilbao, which will be "digital native" and will contribute to accelerating the global digitalization of the business.