On Monday, December 14, 2020, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals organized, via Zoom, the 16th Saudi Technical Exchange Meeting, which was held under the title Research and Development in Clean Energy: Challenges and Opportunities. The meeting was organized by the KFUPM Institute for Knowledge Exchange (KIKX), the Master of Engineering program in Sustainable and Renewable Energy, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)-Saudi Section.
The meeting was opened by His Excellency the President of the University, Dr. Muhammad Al-Saggaf. He welcomed the participants and thanked all entities who helped in organizing the meeting.
Dr. Al-Saggaf spoke about the importance of clean energy and the need to keep pace with the development of its use.
He stressed that the importance of the meeting stems from the fact that the search for clean energy will allow us to reach the main engine of life, without negatively affecting other ways of life.
This meeting is in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to use a clean energy mix in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The mixture of clean energy will significantly increase renewable energy generation, radically change energy networks, and prepare for smart information systems and communication infrastructure.
Dr. Al-Saggaf pointed to the University’s role in the field of clean energy and its support for energy research and encouraging the exchange of experiences.
He also touched on enhancing cooperation opportunities between KFUPM and worldwide institutions through such meetings.
He emphasized that we are working hard and quickly to develop the university and elevate it to a world-class status.
He added that there are opportunities and challenges that come with the University’s transformation, and we consider speed and flexibility to be among the most important opportunities that this transformation will provide.
“The University carried out a qualitative transfer in various fields during this year, and the modernization of traditional educational methods was one of our top priorities, in addition to the use of modern and advanced programs as a reliable base for new students, with the concentration on data science and others.” He added.
H. E. mentioned that the University needs to increase concentrations in colleges, and said: “We have added 20 new concentrations, which will give our students an advantage in the labor market and greater ability to compete”.
About the new programs, Dr. Al-Saggaf said: “We have introduced 15 master's programs aimed at graduating specialists in many modern technological fields, and this was the first time for the university to allow female students to join these specializations, representing 20% of the total number of students.”
The meeting was hosted by Mr. Ahmed Al-Khowaiter, Chief Technology Officer at Saudi Aramco, who in turn spoke about the importance of cooperation between academic and industrial institutions in the field of the carbon economy.
He explained Saudi Aramco's role in investing in clean energy and keeping pace with the worldwide shift towards emissions reduction.
Dr. Bob Maughon, Executive VP, Sustainability and Technology & Innovation at SABIC, spoke about the carbon economy in the chemical industry, the challenges it faces, and the support it needs from other sectors.
He stressed the necessity for the cooperation of several parties, such as industrialists, academics, and the local community.
The meeting discussed the issue of clean energy in several aspects, the most important of which is the economic aspect and the feasibility of using this type of energy. The meeting also discussed the technical aspects of clean energy, such as the use of artificial intelligence and modern technologies and their role in the energy field, in addition to the environmental aspect and the effect of using renewable energy on the climate.
After each session, an open dialogue took place between the participants in which they exchanged their views on all of these points.
Researchers from all over the world and from KFUPM reviewed distinguished and varied research papers related to the latest findings in clean energy, the challenges facing this sector, and how to overcome them.
The meeting was a unique platform, gathering top world-class researchers and industrial/ governmental leaders in the field of clean energy. It was a unique opportunity to listen and interact with distinguished leaders from the industry and government sectors in the Kingdom as well as internationally eminent scholars in the field of energy.
STEM 2020 builds upon the success of previous workshops in addressing major technical issues related to the energy sector in the region. In its 16th meeting, it focused on clean energy resources.