KAUST Clean Fuels Consortium


Clean Fuels Consortium (CFC)

is an association of industry partners and academic experts from KAUST’s Clean Combustion Research Center.Working together, the consortium will conduct research on clean fuel technologies, and develop practical tools …


Prof. William Roberts

William Roberts holds a PhD from University of Michigan and served as Professor of Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina State University before joining KAUST in 2012. He is currently the Director of the CCRC. Prof. Roberts' research interests include experimental combustion, propulsion, and laser-based optical diagnostics for reacting flows. Of fundamental interest is the complex interaction between the various length and velocity scales in turbulent flows and the chemical kinetics associated with combustion. His focus is on understanding these interactions in canonical flames, using advanced techniques to measure scalar and vector quantities of interest. He is currently building a unique high-pressure combustion capability at KAUST which will be used to understand combustion phenomena, particularly formation of pollutants such as soot, occurring in practical combustion hardware such as gas turbines and internal combustion engines. Prof. Roberts has close ties to industrial projects with funded research programs with Saudi Aramco, Saudi Electric Company, General Electric, and Boeing.


Mani Sarathy

Mani Sarathy is the Associate Director of CCRC and an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at KAUST. He joined the university in 2012. His research interest is in developing sustainable energy technologies with decreased net environmental impact. He develops fundamental chemical kinetic models that can be used to simulate fuel combustion and pollutant formation in energy systems. Prof. Sarathy's research in combustion chemistry modeling includes quantum chemistry based kinetic rate calculations, comprehensive mechanism development, combustion cyberinfrastructure development, computer generated detailed and reduced mechanisms, and simulation of multi-dimensional reacting flows. In addition, he obtains data from fundamental combustion experiments to elucidate reaction pathways of combustion, and to generate experimental data needed to validate detailed chemical kinetic models.


Robert Dibble

Robert Dibble holds a PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley before joining KAUST in 2015. His research interests include laser diagnostics in turbulent reactive flows, generation of "green" fuels from biomass, highest efficiency and lowest pollution combustion of fuels derived from biomass, combustion issues related to global warming, conversion of waste heat to power via Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), spectroscopy, chemical kinetics, turbulent combustion, optics, and electronics.


Aamir Farooq

Prof. Farooq received his PhD from the Mechanical Engineering, Department at Stanford University in 2010. Presently, he is the principal investigator of the Chemical Kinetics and Laser Sensors Laboratory in the Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC) at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). His research interests are in the areas of energy, combustion chemistry, spectroscopy, and laser-based sensors. His group carries out experimental chemical kinetics research using shock tubes, rapid compression machine and optical diagnostics. Dr. Farooq also focuses on novel spectroscopic strategies to develop sensors for biomedical and environment-monitoring applications. He has authored over 50 refereed journal articles and has presented at a number of international conferences.


Bengt Johansson

Dr. Bengt Johansson is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at KAUST. Previously, he was a Professor of Internal Combustion Engines at Lund University from 2001 and head of the combustion engine group from 2004. He was also director of the Centre of Competence Combustion Processes with a number of international industry partners since 2003. He was chairman of the SAE Engine Combustion Committee 2012-2015 and since 2006 chair for the HCCI fuels collaborative task within the International Energy Agency, IEA.
Professor Johansson’s research area is combustion in internal combustion engines. He has a special interest in low temperature combustion, like homogeneous charge compression ignition, HCCI and partially premixed combustion, PPC. He also has an interest in high efficiency thermodynamics.


Hong G. Im

Dr. Im is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering here at KAUST. Hong Im’s research interests are primarily fundamental and practical aspects of combustion and power generation devices using high-fidelity computational modeling. Recent research topics include ignition/extinction, unsteady flame phenomena, DNS/LES of turbulent reacting flows, nonpremixed edge-flame dynamics, modeling of homogeneous charge compression ignition engines, modelling of sooting flames, and micro-scale power generation.


We aim to establish a research program that delivers fundamental fuel chemical kinetic and physical property data together with numerical models for simulating fuel combustion and pollutant formation. The consortium will be formed with automotive and petroleum industry membership, and the initial aim will be to study gasoline relevant engines and fuels. The key activities of the consortium will include fuel property investigation, chemical kinetic experiments, chemical kinetic modeling, surrogate fuel formulation, spray combustion experiments, and high fidelity computational fluid dynamics simulations.


The objectives are to improve the economic and environmental competitiveness of the fuels and internal combustion engine (ICE) combination for the transportation sector by:

  • Reducing the engine-out emissions
  • Increasing the thermal efficiency of ICEs
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of fuels and engines

The initiative will focus on 3 parts:

  • Understanding complex fuels under engine relevant conditions.
  • Advancing fuel and engine design using high-fidelity simulations.
  • Providing advanced computational design tools.


Global transportation-related energy demand by 2040 is expected to increase by 30 percent. It is critical to develop more efficient ICEs and low-carbon transportation fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet our global needs for combustion generated power.

It is time for collaboration to achieve common goals.

The Clean Fuels Consortium research program is guided and directed by its members. Once a year in March, the CFC research team meets to review and comment on active projects and discuss new research projects. All CFC members have the opportunity to actively participate and direct the scope of research so that the results are actionable and sustainable.

Membership & Benefits

  • Equal rights to establish research direction, benefit from results, exploit IP (per negotiated terms), and engage KAUST students and postdocs.
  • Opportunity for KAUST students and postdocs to intern with consortium partners. Salary and travel paid by KAUST.
  • Attend annual Clean Fuels Consortium Workshop. Workshops rotate between KAUST, Europe, America, and Asia.
  • Consultation from CCRC faculty on potential new projects.

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