Ahmed Al-Saggaf

Solar and Photovoltaics Engineering

​​​Ahmed Al-Saggaf, a PhD student conducting research in the Solar and Photovoltaics Engineering Research Center, is investigating a cost effective way to industrialize the process of making solar cells, especially in Saudi Arabia, using a roll to roll printer. “Instead of silicon for the cell, I am testing plastic (PET) as the substrate with other conductive material since the Kingdom can readily and cheaply make plastics from hydrocarbons,” he said. “I am also experimenting with different kinds of conductors mixed as ink to print the solar cells. Most importantly, I am experimenting with the roll to roll printer to determine if it can be used as a means to produce cells at a reasonable cost at an industrial level.”

Ahmed is sponsored to KAUST by Saudi Aramco. “I am from Jeddah, and I didn’t know much about Saudi Aramco as a student. But our neighbor worked for the company and told me about it. I applied and was sponsored to Colorado State University for my BSc degree in chemical engineering,” he said.

Later, after working for four years at the Rabigh Refinery, he was sponsored for his MS degree in chemical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. After returning to the Kingdom for a year, he was sent to Houston to work on the front-end design engineering for the Dow Saudi Aramco Joint Venture, Sadara. From there he was sponsored to KAUST for his PhD.

“The facilities at KAUST contain everything I need to conduct my research. For instance, I just finished being trained by the manufacturer on this state of the art machine, the roll to roll printer, which is essential to my research,” he said. “Add to that the culture at KAUST which encourages students under the guidance of their mentors to explore and innovate, and I can’t think of a better place for me to be. It is exciting to be part of this university.”