Work starts on ‘next-gen’ Saudi warship in Cadiz

The multirole vessels are designed for surveillance and maritime control, search and rescue, and providing assistance to other vessels during missions. (SPA)
Updated 03 October 2019

Work starts on ‘next-gen’ Saudi warship in Cadiz

  • $985m SAMI joint venture will boost Kingdom’s defense, tech capabilities

RIYADH: Work on the first of five Avante 2200 corvettes being built for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) has begun with an official keel-laying ceremony in the Spanish port of Cadiz.

The high-tech surveillance and maritime protection vessels are being built as part of a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, and are due to be delivered by 2023, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Senior officials from Saudi Arabia and RSNF personnel headed by Rear Adm. Faleh Abdulrahman Alfaleh, deputy commander of the Western Fleet, attended the keel-laying ceremony. SAMI CEO Andreas Schwer, Navantia boss Susana de Sarria and SAMI-Navantia CEO Antonio Rodriguez-Barberan also took part.

The keel-laying is a landmark in the construction of the vessels, one of the key components in the agreement between SAMI and Navantia.

Schwer said: “Today’s event marks a milestone in our collaboration with Navantia as we endeavor to further strengthen the Royal Saudi Naval Forces’ outstanding maritime capabilities through the manufacture of these five vessels.

“This project represents proof of concept for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision for the localization of 50 percent of military equipment spending by 2030.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• The five-year project will create jobs for 6,000 people, including 1,100 direct employees, more than 1,800 employees of Navantia’s auxiliary industries, and more than 3,000 indirect employees generated by other suppliers.

• The fourth and fifth corvettes will be completed within Saudi Arabia, contributing to the development of the Kingdom’s defense system through the transfer of technology and creation of new career opportunities.

He added: “By working together, SAMI and Navantia will boost the local content through the creation of thousands of highly skilled jobs in Saudi Arabia, accelerate the transfer of technology, and contribute to the Kingdom’s goals of building the indigenous military and defense industries.”

In addition to the construction of the vessels, the Avante 2200 project will include support for five years from the delivery of the first vessel, with an option for an additional five years.

SAMI-Navantia will provide combat system integration and installation as part of a landmark contract worth over €900 million ($985 million) agreed at the Defense and Security Equipment International 2019 exhibition at London’s ExCeL convention center in September.

System engineering and architecture, hardware design, software development, and the delivery of logistical support and training programs are included in the joint venture.

The five-year project will create jobs for 6,000 people, including 1,100 direct employees, more than 1,800 employees of Navantia’s auxiliary industries, and more than 3,000 indirect employees generated by other suppliers.

The fourth and fifth corvettes will be completed within Saudi Arabia, contributing to the development of the Kingdom’s defense system through the transfer of technology and creation of new career opportunities. Under the agreement, localization of the Kingdom’s tech capabilities is expected to grow by up to 60 percent, in line with the goals of Vision 2030.


Startup of the Week: Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially. (Supplied)
Updated 25 min 17 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

  • Aldrees: “Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills”
  • Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids

Carbon CPU is a biotechnology startup specializing in turning food waste into fatty acids for use as livestock nutrients.

Launched through the post-graduate startup accelerator program (TAQADAM) of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the venture was co-founded by Bin Bian, Jiajie Xu, Yara Aldrees, Sara Al-Eid and Prof. Pascal Saikaly.

The idea behind the enterprise began to take shape in 2018. Al-Eid said: “Our aim was to recycle food waste into value-added products in a manner that matched the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy.”

Similar to most countries, Saudi Arabia has a food waste problem, but Carbon CPU thought of utilizing it in a way that caused less harm to the environment and also benefitted the animal feed industry.

“Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills,” said Aldrees. “This produces a lot of gas, including methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and cycloaromatics, and contributes to global warming and air pollution.”

Water and soil were also being contaminated through leachate production, she added. “We’re trying to solve those issues, too.”

The team found that animal farms often struggled to provide enough feed nutrients for livestock such as cows and sheep. Al-Eid said there was a huge shortage of fatty acids, which are used as livestock nutrients and were in high demand from farmers.

“We’re trying to help animals live longer and be more nutritious,” she added.

Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids.

“We produce fatty acids from the food waste, extracting them through a liquid-liquid extraction system. The fatty acid oils are then used to help animal feed, as well as the feed and chemical industries,” said Xu.

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially, added Bian. “KAUST, especially the Environmental Biotechnology Lab led by Prof Pascal Saikaly, provided us with the facilities to set up our reactors. The KAUST Innovation and Economic Development department and the Entrepreneurship Center also gave us a lot of guidance on how to push our technology into the market.”

The startup initially faced many challenges that KAUST helped to resolve. As individuals coming from backgrounds mainly in engineering and science, the team lacked the know-how in business that its project needed.

“KAUST made up for our lack of business thinking through training on how to solve business issues and create business modules and find the right customers for our product,” said Bian.