This year’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress & Exhibition conversation included Saudi Aramco’s global fuels research program and the opportunities it gives engineers to think outside the box in engine design. Saudi Aramco’s fuel research goal is to create efficient, sustainable and affordable transport solutions for the future, and this means not just improving fuels and engines, but discovering the fuel of the future and matching it to the engine of the future. Stringent fuel economy and emissions standards worldwide, and the concern for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport-related emissions, are driving innovation and new approaches in engines, fuels and materials. “We bring a unique perspective due to our understanding of the refining side of the business, the future supply and demand outlook, and engine requirements, so we know what the automakers are looking for,” said Amer Amer, chief technologist of Fuels Technology, Saudi Aramco Research & Development Center (R&DC). “The work that we are doing brings this all together.” Industry Leadership David Cleary, leader of the Aramco Research Center-Detroit, presented on global transportation trends, internal combustion engine challenges and fuel opportunities, and the fuels technology research at Saudi Aramco. “Fuels have evolved, and will be expected to continue to evolve, to meet the needs of transportation,” said Cleary. “The key to getting to that future is to put all the right talent into the same room — from the very fundamental researcher to the automotive expert with significant production experience, who understands what it takes to move transport technologies into the market. “We see technology advanced through people, both at Aramco locations around the world and with the major collaboration partners we have in industry and academia,” he said. In the technical program, Saudi Aramco was well-represented by Gautam Kalghatgi, principal professional at the R&DC and Junseok Chang, Engine Combustion & Efficiency team leader. Kalghatgi presented “A Simple Method to Predict Knock using Toluene, Iso-Octane, N-Heptane Blends (TPRF) as Gasoline Surrogates” and was an invited expert on the “Fuel/Engine Interactions” panel. SAE published a book authored by Kalghatgi with the same title in 2014. “We have a unique opportunity at Saudi Aramco to do a lot of interesting and extremely important strategic research,” he said, noting that engines are changing to be more efficient and cleaner, and the worldwide demand structure is changing, “which will have a big impact on the kinds of fuels and engines that will be in place in just a few years, to 25 years from now.” Chang delivered two papers at the World Congress: “Octane-on-Demand as an Enabler for Highly Efficient Spark Ignition Engines” and “Improvement of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Characterization of High Efficiency Octane-on-Demand Fuels Requirement in a Modern Spark Ignition Engine with Dual Injection System.” Aramco’s fuels program is led by Saudi Aramco’s R&DC in Dhahran, with additional centers located at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal; a collaboration with the independent research organization IFPen in Paris; and the Detroit center.