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INNOVATION,​ RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Saudi Electricity Company is gearing towards the process of scientific researches and innovations in order to accomplish and achieve a strategic position in the ranks of international energy companies. The basic objectives of the long-term process is to improve the efficiency of  electrical system performance, increase reliability, adoption of smart technology and applications to realize company's vision and develop innovative solutions by improving the company's core business as the leading technology and innovation in the electric power sector.

In this context, initiatives have been started in the fields for the establishment of ''Innovation Energy Incubator and Research Excellence Centers that will serve the various activities of the company aligned with five strategic domains; smart uses, energy efficiency, reliability and stability of systems, energy storage and renewable energy, environment and safety. These centers were facilitated with all resources, i.e. expert manpower, equipment and financial possibilities, support the participation of strategic partners such as national universities, research centers and the specialized institutes in studies related to electric power that will link them towards sustainable development in all activities of Saudi Electricity Company.

 

• Research and Development : 

  - Research Center for Renewable Energy

  - Research Center for Generation and Fuel Efficiency

  - Research Center for Transmission and Digital Simulation

  - Research Center for Distribution and Smart Grids

  - Portfolio of Research Projects Management

  - Knowledge Management & Business Development Group - KMBDG

  - Coordination & Technical Support Group

• Innovation of Energy Incubator

 

Research Center of Renewable and Energy Storage

The center was started through a joint research project with King Saud University in the field of concentrated solar power CSP. The roles and responsibilities of the center includes Renewable Energy Technologies that complements their deployment such as energy storage under many collaborations e.g. KACST.

Objectives:

  • Research and develop renewable energy technologies to utilize the clean energy resources suitable for climate conditions in Saudi Arabia.
  • Introduce latest renewable energy technologies and integrate them into SEC electrical system in accordance with the environment of Saudi Arabia.
  • Contribute to identifying and overcoming the obstacles that limit the use of renewable energy resources by creating environment friendly conditions and legislation.
  • Stimulate research and development in the field of renewable energy technologies by studying the challenges of applying the renewable energy systems and to accelerate the commercial application of these technologies.
  • Study of an alternative energy storage systems and solutions.
  • Study E-mobility and its chargers under different climatic conditions in Saudi Arabia.

Research Projects:

  • Development of an integrated gas turbine, solar particle heating and energy storage system in Riyadh, Valley of Technology in collaboration with King Saud University.
  • Pilot Project for testing electric vehicles and quick chargers in the environment of Saudi Arabia.
  • Testing of solid oxide fuel cells for electricity generation at power plant No. 9 in Riyadh. 

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Research Center of Generation and Fuel Efficiency

The Center was established in March 2016 by Saudi Electricity Company in collaboration with KAUST in Thuwal. The vision of the center is to deploy and implement advanced high-efficiency combustion technology and enhance business by enabling total unit, and fuel efficiency, fuel flexibility and reduction of harmful emissions to make power generation more environment friendly.

Objectives:

  • Enable Saudi Electricity Company to lead the sustainable use of clean combustion technologies for fossil fuels.
  • Conducting research studies on energy efficiency (combustion, steam turbines, gas turbines, boilers as well as auxiliary units).
  • Reducing environmental pollution and the​ negative impact on power generation units, operation and maintenance.
  • Investment in research and development to enhance the ability of Saudi Electricity Company to innovate in order to improve efficiency and resolve environmental and economic concerns.
  • Strengthen partnerships with universities, companies, research centers and regional and international organizations.
  • Participation in the publication of scientific papers derived from existing projects in international and local conferences and scientific journals.

Research Projects:

  • The study of Combustion of Emulsified Heavy Fuels and Low Sulfur in steam turbine boilers.
  • Pilot station project to remove vanadium from crude fuel in gas turbines.
  • Applied research of new fuel inhibitor system in gas turbines to increase the avaliability and reduce the accumulation of deposits on the blades of gas turbines in cooperation with Central Generation sector and General Electric at Power Plant in Riyadh (PP9).
  • Study of the removal of salts and impurities from crude fuel.
  • Carbon dioxide capture, exploitation and storage.
  • Improve the heat rate value of all types of fuel (heavy fuel, crude fuel, gas).

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Research Center for Transmission and Digital Simulation

Saudi Electricity Company has established a Research Center in Dhahran Techno Valley and considered as one of the largest centers in the world for digital simulation systems as a platform for research and studies on electrical power transmission networks via these advance systems which simulate the reality of the grid.

The center laboratories have been equipped with 40 of the most advanced simulation devices; which include 160 processing units work in parallel to provide better simulation for wider electrical grids.  It has special modules to connect the protection and control systems with the simulation that evaluates and confirm their performance before installation in the grid. 

Further, the center contributes in transferring knowledge related to electrical power transmission field to SEC engineers and specialists to keep them update and improve their skills.

Objectives:

  • Finding innovative and developed solutions and solving problems related to the reliability and stability of the electrical network.
  • Analysis of the transmission network using Real Time Digital Simulation software to support various sectors such as planning, engineering, operation and maintenance. Further, support deployment of new technologies to enhance and improve transmission networks.
  • Provide specialized technical support to study network failures and the use of Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) for various control and protection tests.
  • Enabling the network by integrating available renewable energy sources and power storage systems.
  • Provide specialized studies for HVDC and FACTS energy projects and their effects on power system.

Research Projects:

  • Phasor Measurement Unit Project
  • Investigation of Voltage Rise in COS Project
  • SVC Interaction in the Electricity Grid Project
  • Insulators Contamination Mapping Project
  • Wide Area Monitoring System using FNET/Grid Eye
  • Provide Dynamic Reactive Power Compensator (DRPC) solution for EWA grid in Bahrain

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Research center of Distribution and smart Grids

Saudi Electricity Company has established a shared Distribution R&D Center with KACST on 30 July 2015. The Center has created a Smart Grid laboratory for testing, researching and developing the latest technologies in Distribution Sector for grid automation and distribution generation.

Objectives:

  • Utilizing the latest global technologies related to distribution and smart grid.
  • Finding technical solutions for the distribution sector.
  • Studying smart solutions and its applications, challenges on distribution networks
  • Studying of electrical power system quality
  • Training and workshops 

Research Projects:

  • Smart Monitoring System for Distribution Network.
  • Static VAR Compensation System on Distribution Network
  • Study the impact of EV Chargers on the Distribution network

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Research Projects Portfolio Group (RPPG)

RPPG supervises R&D projects under execution stage and monitoring their progress and revise milestones. Also, it contributes to the preparation of the strategic objectives of the projects to work with.

Objectives:

  • Review project proposals, agreements and contracts, identify change orders with stakeholders.
  • Coordinate project plans and follow up initiatives implemented from operational plans in collaboration with research centers in R&D Department.
  • Supervise the research projects, follow up the project implementation procedures and document the achievements according to the planned schedules.
  • Contributing to the collection of all data and information necessary to measure the operational performance indicators of projects and formulating them to follow up the progress of work.
  • Coordinating with research centers regarding the technical aspects of the projects and provide the necessary support in the preparation of technical reports.
  • Evaluating the performance of the consultancy companies and institutions that execute the research projects.

Research Projects: 

  • Concentrated sun on the sand to produce energy project (phase 2)
  • Electric vehicles and quick charging project
  • Project of Research Center at Dhahran Techno Valley
  • Integrated Smart Monitoring and Decision Support System (ISMDSS) for Distribution Networks
  • Static Compensators (STATCOM) project for improving voltage of distribution networks 
  • Data analysis to reduce commercial power loss using Artificial Intelligence
  • Critical customer monitoring system project

Knowledge Management Group:

Knowledge Management Group contributes to the development and management of technical knowledge resulting from the outputs of studies and research projects.

Objectives:

  • Spreading knowledge of awareness through conducting specialized workshops in various scientific aspects that enhance the efficiency and role of R&D Department.
  • Documenting the published scientific papers from the R&D Centers of excellence.
  • Transferring of knowledge resulting from research and development projects through participation in workshops and forums inside and outside the company.
  • Managing the transfer of technology in the portfolio of research projects and private contracting projects with specialized research institutes such as the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
  • Continuous improvement of internal work processes through the application of the Japanese Kaizen methodology.
  • Inventory, documentation and dissemination of best practices and lessons learned from R&D centers of excellence projects.
  • Adopting of knowledge initiatives from the knowledge management resulting from the outputs of studies and research projects through the Knowledge Insights.

Initiatives: 

  • Documentation of Lessons Learned – as best practices from the R&D research projects
  • Continuous process of improvement initiative through the application of Kaizen Methodology. 
  • Preparing of Weekly Knowledge Insights Initiative to disseminate scientific knowledge reached as outcomes from research projects for all core of SEC business lines

Coordination & Technical Support Group

The group aims to coordinate the technical functions required to support R&D centers of excellence, and the efficient allocation of R&D resources by ensuring the reliability and sustainability of R&D resources. It provides effective logistics services and advice coordination, tracking and monitoring the progress of R&D activities.

Objectives:

  • Preparing  operational budget and its inclusion in the SAP system
  • Purchasing material through SAP system
  • Preparing financial and human resources reports
  • Providing logistical support to R&D centers of excellence 
  • Preparing feasibility study for research and development projects
  • Monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in the department

Innovation Energy Incubator

The Innovation Energy Incubator was established in 2017 as the first incubation and entrepreneurship center focusing on energy sector in Saudi Arabia, supported by a set of R&D centers, national and global partners.

Innovators -  Figures and  Statistics :

No. of Participants in Innovation Events

550

No. of​ Incubated Innovations

18

No. of Filed Patents

8

 

Functions:

• Innovative Ideas Support

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Disseminate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the company community for employees and their families.
  2. Participation of the incubator in the community through the support of organizers of innovative events such as (conferences related to startups, entrepreneurs' forums, innovative events for families, young innovators).
  3. Sorting and selecting of innovative ideas and participants in different innovation programs (Let’s think to innovative Program, Innovative Family Program, First of all program and Toward Innovative Nation Program).
  4. Organizing innovative competitions both local and international hackathons.
  5. Designing business models for innovative and entrepreneurial projects.
  6. Supervising the committees of judging innovative competitions and following up their results.
  7. Preparing of media content for the incubator and managing in various social media.
  8. Managing of various activities held by the incubator and logistical supervision.

• Incubation

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Forming strategic relationships and partnerships with the global authorities concerned with innovation and modern technology.
  2. Technical evaluation of new innovative projects.
  3. Preparing and designing detailed advanced business plans for innovative and entrepreneurial projects.
  4. Supervising the incubation of the technical incubators and providing everything in helping them to accomplish innovations.
  5. Monitoring and supervising the work of the committees supporting the incubated projects and ensure that the incubators receive the technical and administrative support that enables them to accomplish their projects.
  6. Manufacturing prototypes of innovations and incubated projects with the help of specialized international companies.
  7. Conducting the necessary tests and experiments for the prototypes of innovations in laboratories and also in the site (Pilot Project).
  8. Transferring of technology and modern innovations in the field of energy and employing them according to the needs of the company through the purchase or agency or franchising rights (Importing, Licensing, Franchising).
  9. Establishing, managing and operating the prototypes manufacturing plant (Fab Lab) in the company's new headquarters  in Riyadh.
  10. Establishing, managing and operating the prototypes manufacturing plant (Fab Lab) in the company's headquarters in Dammam.

• Intellectual property

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Preparing and updating the company's intellectual property policy, disseminating the intellectual property culture and clarifying the rights of the company and employees with intellectual production.
  2. Managing the intellectual property file and registering patents in local, regional and international offices and following up their procedures and requirements from the application stage to the granting stage.
  3. Preparing and updating the list of rewards for patents and intellectual production in the company and determining the beneficiaries of the rewards in accordance with the approved rules for granting the reward.
  4. Managing the portfolio of innovation and inventions and determining what is invested in it and continuing to pay its fees or not.

• Entrepreneurship & Corporate Venture Capital (CVC)

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Forming a strategic relationships with government entities supporting start-ups to contribute positively to the success of the program (Towards an Innovative Homeland).
  2. Supervising the business acceleration program for the incubated start-ups in the incubator, to provide a minimum of success factors.
  3. Monitoring the performance of the start-up projects and providing them with technical, administrative, financial, marketing and legal advice throughout the incubation period.
  4. Supervising the Entrepreneurial program, which focuses on the pioneering development of CEOs for startups.
  5. Evaluating the startup projects supervised by the incubator in order to determine the appropriate investment strategy.
  6. Communicating and coordinate with the strategic partner responsible for the adventure investment program in the incubator projects.
  7. Assisting startups in obtaining appropriate funding.


Information about the Programs : 

  •  "Let's Think to Become Innovative" Program: Targets employees of the Saudi Electricity Company and business lines.
  • "Innovative Family" Program: Targets families and relatives of Saudi Electricity Company's employees.
  • "First of All" Program: Targets experts and prospective retirees from Saudi Electricity Company.
  • "Towards an Innovative Nation" Program: Targets all citizens and residents within and outside of Saudi Arabia.​​​​​