KAUST FLEET celebrates its economic and environmental accomplishments in the transportation sector

Prof. Mani Sarathy speaking at the event.

Last year, KAUST and the Oil Sustainability Program (OSP) established the Fuel Lubricants Efficient Engine Technology ( FLEET) Consortium with major Saudi and foreign companies, including Aramco, Bahri, Pacific Green Technologies, SAPTCO, Toyota, and Hyundai. This year’s event on September 12 held at KAUST welcomed two more companies to the consortium, Luberef and Ferrari.

FLEET was founded to enhance fuel and engine design for higher sustainability and economic competitiveness of the transport sector. After just one year, FLEET has completed half a dozen projects. Among them are the study of how liquids spray and burn under extreme conditions, developing new types of fuel cells, and methods to capture and reuse energy released from ship engines.

Following this success, FLEET has announced eight new projects, including ones that attracted the new members. One is the exploration of lubricants in electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, which reflects the expertise brought by Luberef, and another is new techniques to improve the performance of hydrogen engines, an interest of Ferrari.

“We welcome the opportunity to join FLEET Consortium, with its focus on enhancing fuel and engine design to improve the environmental and economic competitiveness of its members. On Ferrari’s path to carbon neutrality by 2030, we value innovative frameworks such as this to share competencies and experiences”, said Ernesto Lasalandra, Ferrari Chief Research and Development Officer.

FLEET is one of the many recent initiatives taken by Saudi Arabia to achieve a carbon-neutral economy. OSP itself was founded in 2020 and represents multiple government entities, research institutions, and private companies who aim to maximize the added value of hydrocarbons both domestically and globally.

FLEET itself is strengthening the network of government, academic and industry and is already translating research into renewable e-fuels and public transit running with hydrogen fuel cells. 

Prof. Mani Sarathy speaking at the event.

“From evaluating the feasibility of methanol-to-gasoline production and utilization in Europe, to experimenting with fuel blends and running a case study in Saudi Arabia using hydrogen-fueled buses, it's been a busy year for us,” said KAUST Prof. Mani Sarathy, who founded FLEET with Prof. Aamir Farooq of KAUST Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC).