Saudi Arabia Review

Aramco, Kaist tie up

The agreement will lead to the establishment of a CO2 research centre at Daejeon in South Korea

SAUDI Aramco and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist), a leading world research institution, have announced they will establish a CO2 Research Centre to jointly collaborate in research and development of innovative technologies and solutions to address the world’s energy challenges.

Khalid Al Falih, president and CEO, Saudi Aramco, and Dr Nam Pyo Suh, president, Kaist, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the Saudi Aramco -Kaist CO2 Research Centre near Kaist’s main campus in Daejeon.

The research centre, jointly managed by Saudi Aramco and Kaist, will foster and facilitate the research and development of innovative technologies and solutions, conversion of CO2 into useful products, and develop efficiency improvements in its focus areas of research.

A joint working group comprising scientists, experts and professionals from Kaist and Saudi Aramco will oversee the establishment and operations of the Saudi Aramco-Kaist CO2 Research Centre and the MoU provides the framework for the group to share carbon management technologies, establish exchange programmes and conduct joint projects.

Al Falih says: “The CO2 Research Centre represents a major step in Saudi Aramco’s research and technology strategy to partner with top global institutions to help address and find sustainable solutions to the world’s energy challenges both domestically and internationally.

“While we recognise that modern renewables are a welcome addition to the future energy mix, the world’s energy needs will continue to be met for many decades to come by existing conventional sources, primarily fossil fuels. It is important that investments are made in research and development that make the world’s primary energy sources more sustainable through efficiency and environmental stewardship, and I am confident our partnership with Kaist will help foster innovative solutions for the clean, reliable and efficient use of hydrocarbon fuels.”

He adds: “Kaist is synonymous with the rapid growth and development of Korea, and has been one of the enablers that have made the country the technology powerhouse of today. Kaist’s leadership, world-class faculty and teams of scientists and researchers bring extraordinary and unique abilities to this pioneering initiative to promote sustainable growth that will yield enormous benefits for consumer and producer economies alike.”

Dr Suh says: “As demand for petroleum and natural gas is expected to increase due to a rising world population and continued economic development, it is imperative that we collaborate with top industry partners to tackle the world’s sustainability challenges and find innovative and sustainable solutions that will benefit all of mankind.”

He adds: “Partnering with Saudi Aramco, the industry leader, is a significant step in meeting these challenges and Saudi Aramco’s integrated capabilities encompassing energy and technology would enable the CO2 Research Centre to advance research and develop its focus areas.”

Kaist vice president of research Kyoungwook Paik says: “Through the Saudi Aramco-Kaist CO2 Research Centre, Kaist is demonstrating its willpower to apply science and technology to carbon management research in order to significantly enhance the quality of human life.”

Samir A Tubayyeb, vice president, engineering services, Saudi Aramco, says: “Saudi Aramco’s bold R&D strategy accentuates tapping into in-kingdom and global centres of technical and academic excellence.”

He adds that the company’s collaboration with Kaist is the first such partnership established in Asia and the MoU with Kaist enables collaboration between in-kingdom universities and the CO2 Research Centre’s research activities. Citing Saudi Aramco’s first satellite R&D centre at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology last year, he explained that the company will establish R&D centres around the world in technology hubs in Europe and North America.

“The Saudi Aramco-Kaist CO2 Research Centre represents another step part of our R&D strategy execution to help develop innovative technologies towards CO2 capture and conversion by bringing the strengths of Saudi Aramco as a technology innovator with those of Kaist as a centre of academic excellence.”

Kaist was established in 1971 as the Republic of Korea’s first graduate school specialising in science and engineering education and research. The school’s founding was a catalyst for Korea’s rapid rise from a producer of light industry goods to a world leader in high-technology industries.

Over the past four decades, Kaist has evolved into a global research university. The University’s strong faculty conducts internationally recognised research in cooperation with academic institutions and industries all over the world. Kaist offers generous grants and fellowships to international students, promoting Korea as a global educational power.

Kaist received in December 2012 global recognition from Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s Top 100 Global Innovative Organisations for 2012, and has been honoured in particular for its breakthrough innovations in transporting CO2.

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