CCRC Startup signs MoU with Luberef

01 February, 2022

- Article by Raheena Abdurehim


At KAUST’s Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC) a startup is being lifted to new heights with their partnership with Saudi Aramco Base Oil Company - Luberef. 

Emerging Solutions Commercial Company. LLC, trading as uODS, is a company formed to commercialize KAUST intellectual property to remove harmful sulfur from hydrocarbons.

The MoU was signed on 19, January 2022 with Luberef agreeing to support them in the development and deployment of their technology. 

Translating Research Into Real-World Solutions 

“This spin out and the resulting MoU with Luberef is a great example of translating the fundamental research done in our labs, with a team of international collaborators, into a scaleable and economically-viable process to meet a critical real-world need,” stated William Roberts, Director of Clean Combustion Research Center and President, uODS. 

The uODS process is built upon basic research in sonochemistry pioneered at the CCRC. The process reduces sulfur in marine fuels, meeting IMO2020 regulations, without the need to consume valuable hydrogen.  Additionally, the process is able to operate at low temperatures and atmospheric pressure.

“Demonstrating the uODS technology at scale will be a major milestone achievement for the kingdom’s efforts to drive the industry to achieve environmental excellence, and ensure that oil has a more sustainable future”, said Mark Brown, CEO, uODS. 

The uODS process core is in the ultrasonically-induced cavitation. Sound waves propagate into the liquid creating microscopic cavitation bubbles that eventually collapse, leading to high mixing and hot spots. 

 “We realized that the key to creating a commercially viable process was the fluid dynamics of the system. Modelling the entire process, from a single bubble to the whole reactor, enabled accurate control over the process and improved yield”, added Paolo Guida, CTO, uODS.