GE and KAUST Sign Agreement to Undertake Joint Research to Strengthen Kingdom’s Electricity Sector

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GE has signed a cooperative research agreement with King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) to undertake cutting-edge research on enhancing the fuel flexibility of GE’s advanced gas turbines.

The collaborative research, led by Saudi-based international professionals and students from KAUST along with GE’s global team, will focus on the impact of using heavy liquid fuels on advanced gas turbines. The goal of this groundbreaking study is to help advance the overall fuel flexibility of gas turbines, which in turn can positively impact power plant availability, enabling power producers to meet the growing demand for electricity in the Kingdom.

According to Bill Roberts, director, KAUST Clean Combustion Center, the university’s cooperative research with GE is a strong example of the academic-industry linkages KAUST fosters.

“Our goal is not only to shape a future generation of energy and industry-skilled professionals, but also contribute to innovative technologies that are developed in the Kingdom,” Roberts said. “The research collaboration with GE will further strengthen our contribution to the Kingdom’s energy sector.”

The collaborative research project, scheduled to begin this year, is co-funded by GE and KAUST. Research results will be evaluated by GE experts to determine feasibility.

“This is a great opportunity to engage in collaborative research for an important aspect in advancing the energy sector of the Kingdom and supports the Ministry of Petroleum’s Liquid Hydrocarbon Energy initiative,” said Hisham Al Bahkali, GE president & CEO for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. “Strengthening the fuel flexibility of GE’s advanced gas turbines will have far-reaching benefits for our partners in the electricity generation sector. Working with the KAUST team demonstrates our commitment to promote localized innovation, which is central to operations in the Kingdom. By sharing knowledge and potentially creating new technologies, we can contribute to increasing productivity and efficiency at the power plants in the Kingdom.”

The collaborative research agreement is further proof of GE’s commitment to find ways to increase fuel flexibility across power plants and refineries in the Kingdom. It also complements the concerted efforts of GE to build an innovation-led ecosystem, underlined by the research initiatives at the Saudi GE Innovation Center in in Dhahran Techno-Valley. The center works with and through the national ecosystem with localization being the main focus. The facility works on customer business priorities, needs and issues that address the country’s challenges.

GE’s advanced F-class gas turbines are the first to offer customers the ability to operate on crude oil. In December 2013, Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and GE successfully field tested the first F-class gas turbine at Power Plant (PP) 11 operating on Arabian Super-Light (ASL) crude oil. GE’s latest 7F.05 gas turbines are expected to be commissioned on ASL as a backup fuel on projects such as SEC’s PP12 as well as SEC’s recently announced “Green Duba” Integrated Solar Combined Cycle Plant.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is an international, graduate-level research university located on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. KAUST is dedicated to advancing science and technology through interdisciplinary research, education and innovation. Curiosity driven and goal-oriented research is conducted by students, faculty, scientists and engineers to address the world’s pressing scientific and technological challenges related to food, water, energy and the environment.

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