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FUELCOM scientists scoop top award


From left are Hassan Babiker, Gautum Kalghatgi and Jihad Badra. The trio were recognized for their “outstanding” SAE technical paper at an award ceremony at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ 2017 World Congress.


Scientists from Saudi Aramco’s Fuel Technology Program (FUELCOM) recently won the prestigious 2017 Harry L. Horning Memorial Award, a sign that the company’s Research and Development Center (R&DC) is well on its way toward changing the way automakers design future car engines and the fuels they use.

At the award ceremony, held recently at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) 2017 World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, Saudi Aramco scientists Gautam Kalghatgi, Hassan Babiker, and Jihad Badra were recognized for their “outstanding” SAE technical paper, “A Simple Method to Predict Knock Using Toluene, N-Heptane and Iso-Octane Blends (TPRF) as Gasoline Surrogates.”

“This research is about improving the efficiency of spark-ignition engines,” Kalghatgi explained. “One of the major reasons limiting the efficiency of today’s car engines is something that we call ‘knock.’ Engineers have known about knock for a long time, but predicting when knock occurs is very difficult. What the paper did is to establish a simple process for predicting when knock occurs in engines. If we can predict knock, then we can work to find different quality fuels and different engine designs to eliminate knock and make our engines more efficient, and we can reduce emissions as well.”

Named after SAE past president Harry L. Horning and established in 1938, the Horning Memorial Award recognizes accomplishments and acknowledges contributions through research and development to the better mutual adaptation of fuels and internal combustion engines.

Through Horning’s efforts, the technologies of the petroleum and automotive industries became closely allied in the pursuit of improved mutual adaptability of engines and fuels, and the Horning Memorial Award is a motivation for others who follow in his footsteps.

Amer A. Amer, the chief technologist of the Fuel Technology Division at the R&DC, said, “The award is an endorsement of Saudi Aramco’s leading role and growing competency in the field of fuels used in transportation. By making internal combustion engines more efficient and mutually adapting engine design with fuels, Saudi Aramco is helping to ensure the importance of hydrocarbon fuels for decades to come.”

By taking the lead in the search for efficient engine fuel systems, Saudi Aramco is not only adding to the world’s understanding in hydrocarbon fuel combustion. It is also helping to set a new course for the auto industry and influence the design of cars that we’ll all drive in the future.

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