KPC signs $12.5m solar research agreement

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation talks to UME about its solar project

KPC says the study may lead to an expanded focus on supporting new technologies. (GETTY IMAGES)
KPC says the study may lead to an expanded focus on supporting new technologies. (GETTY IMAGES)

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has announced that it has embarked on a five year, US $12.5 million study with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) to research the potential uses of solar energy. Under the deal KISR will undertake a study to consider applications of solar power within Kuwait’s energy sector.

“KPC contracted KISR to conduct a three-phase study to develop a roadmap for the introduction of renewable energy, particularly the potentials of introducing solar energy technologies, within the petroleum sector in Kuwait. KISR plans to conduct the required research for the three phases in coordination with a number of international players that are actively involved in developing energy technologies,” says Bader Nasser Al-Khashti, managing director of R&D and HSE at Kuwait Petroleum.

The first phase of the study encompassed an assessment of the potential applications of solar energy, and involved looking at the consumption profiles for Kuwait’s oil sector by collecting data from target solar energy sites.

“Phase 2 involves assessing the performance of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems under local weather conditions for heat and electric power generation on a pilot scale,” says Al-Khashti.

The results of this phase are expected to provide protocols for the reliable operation of solar plants customised to the specific requirements of Kuwait’s oil sector. It is also anticipated that the pilots will produce the engineering specifications for large-scale, low temperature solar thermal and PV plants for the sector, whilst also developing the operational skills of those in Kuwait’s oil industry.

“Depending on the outcome of the study, specifically that of phase 2, the success in utilising solar energy technologies may expand KPC’s focus to supporting new technologies, including those in the R&D stage that could enhance the performance of Kuwait’s oil sector facilities,” Al-Khashti adds.

The company emphasises that the study has provided the opportunity to conserve fossil energy resources, as well as helping to achieve a strategic objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations. In addition, KPC says that the project will also cover a research programme aimed at improving the performance and efficiency of solar energy applications.



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