Aramco Asia Energy Cup highlights sustainability, entrepreneurship among young researchers


Regional winners of the “Aramco Asia Energy Cup” — qualifiers from China, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea — gathered for a key event in the Chinese capital of Beijing for the final contest after one year of intense competition, careful selection, and evaluation of the researchers’ innovative projects.

Funded through Saudi Aramco’s 2017 annual donation to the Asia-Pacific region, this innovative program was jointly developed and carried out by Aramco Asia and Enactus — a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurship accomplishments.

The Energy Cup has been designed to support the next generation of entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific region by providing them with the resources and expertise they need to develop innovative solutions.

The final contest attracted more than 150 graduate students, academic advisers, and industry experts, with Aramco Asia management acting as judges and observers at the event.

Program composed of three dynamic phases

The program was launched in October 2016 with a theme of “Sustainability for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change.” It reached over 199,000 graduate and postgraduate students from 380 universities in China, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and helped them find innovative solutions to the environment and sustainability challenges.

The Asia-Pacific region is at the heart of global technological innovation. This is especially true as China embraces mass innovation and entrepreneurship in the face of sweeping changes driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Saudi Aramco believes innovation connects people, ideas, and energy to realize the full potential of our resources, amplifying their benefits to power opportunities. Knowledge-based innovation is also included as one of the key elements of Saudi Vision 2030.

As the company is striving to realize the long-term economic blueprint for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco is maintaining a growing presence in Asia-Pacific and contributing to the future success of the region. Its business activities and expertise are leveraged for the benefits of the people and communities by strategizing and providing support to sustainability and environmental policies in the host countries.

The program was divided into three parts under an integrated framework. Project A, “Innovative Solution,” was designed to empower undergraduate students in the Asia-Pacific region to develop projects that are conducive to innovation and sustainability for energy, environment and ecology issues. Project B, “Techno Quests,” which was led by Aramco’s Beijing Research Center (BRC), engaged postgraduate students in China to initiate research studies to apply new technologies and solutions in BRC’s three main areas of research — reservoir engineering, geophysics, and geology. Project C, the “Aramco Asia Energy Cup Asia-Pacific Competition” brought the winning teams of the five participating countries in Project A to Beijing for the final round.

Connecting energy, ideas, and people

The North China Electric Power University (Baoding) undergraduate team won the top award of the Asia-Pacific competition with its creative design of a biogas photovoltaic complementary power generation system that helped farmers save electricity.

“We thank Aramco Asia for the opportunity and recognition. In the future, we hope that we can carry on and make a greater impact for a more sustainable world,” said the team leader.

The first runner-up prize went to the Universiti Kuala Lumpur undergraduate team from Malaysia. “We enjoyed our trip to China and learned a great deal from Enactus students across the Asia-Pacific region for the improvement of our own work,” said one team member.

For the “Techno Quests” China National Competition, seven teams entered into the final round with the Southwest Petroleum University postgraduate team receiving the championship title with their project “Investigation of Green Heterogeneous Nano- Fluid for Enhanced Oil Recovery.”

“We have been given valuable suggestions and comments from the industrial experts of the judge’s panel, which are tremendously helpful for our future learning and research work,” the team presenter pointed out.

Commenting on the “Techno Quest” work stream led by the BRC, the center’s director, Khalid Al Rufaii, indicated that “we are very satisfied with the design and outcomes of this program. It provided an important platform for young postgraduate students in China to showcase their research capabilities in the areas of the center’s interests, namely reservoir engineering, geophysics and geology, and also promoted the long-term development of such fields.”

“Public Affairs teams across the Asia-Pacific region have worked closely and seamlessly with Enactus in the five countries to make sure that the design and implementation plan of this sizable corporate social responsibility project are highly aligned with both Saudi Aramco’s core business in the region and Saudi Aramco’s donation strategy selection criteria, impact metrics, sustainability, and corporate identity recognition,” said Waleed Al Helal, director of Aramco Asia Public Affairs.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to our public affairs teams across Asia for their great efforts, which has brought about meaningful impact and awareness among the young researchers and students in this region.”

Recognizing the key role of Saudi Aramco’s donation and the management’s close involvement, Janet Shanberg, president of Enactus China, highlighted that “the belief of corporate social responsibility is part of the company’s DNA.

“This competition was especially meaningful in that it created a platform for students from five countries to participate and collaborate. This type of collaboration and sharing of ideas is essential in today’s global environment.”

After the competition, all participants were invited for a tour of the BRC facilities, where they were briefed by the researchers on the latest research projects being carried out by the BRC.


Photo captions: Participants of the Aramco Asia “Energy Cup” Asia Pacific Competition pose for a group photo during their tour of the Beijing Research Center. Regional qualifiers from China, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea gathered for the event in Beijing. The event is funded through Saudi Aramco’s annual donation to the Asia-Pacific region and is jointly carried out by Aramco Asia and Enactus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring students through the support of the accomplishments of next-generation entrepreneurs seeking and developing innovative solutions.