Kuwait – MENA Herald: GE marked a new milestone in its operational presence in Kuwait with the opening of the GE Kuwait Technology Center (GEKTC), a flagship facility that will foster localized research, provide hands-on training and build an innovation ecosystem specifically for the power sector.
Approved by the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) for a Foreign Investment License last year, the 6,000 sq meter GEKTC, based at Agility in Sulaibiya, is the first facility of its kind outside of the United States by GE, underlining the company’s long-term commitment to Kuwait, its people and the wider region.
As part of a new MoU signed with Kuwait University (KU), the Center will drive localized training and research and development (R&D) in power generation in Kuwait, supporting the goals of Kuwait Vision 2035 to nurture youth talent and create high quality jobs in the technical sector.
An integrated training, tooling and engineering facility, the Center has three core components: A Training Center supporting over 900 students and technical professionals each year, Tooling Center to offer repair & maintenance services, and Engineering Center for cutting-edge research and development.
The Engineering Center will also house a Monitoring and Diagnostics Center and a Controls Simulation laboratory providing local capability to monitor GE’s connected turbine and generator fleet across the region and supporting GE’s digital industrial applications including Predix, the world’s first and only cloud-based operating system for the industry.
Highlighting GE’s focus on digital industrial transformation by integrating big data with heavy machinery to achieve unprecedented levels of operational efficiency and productivity, the GEKTC team will also work with Kuwaiti researchers, industry and software developers to co-create digital industrial solutions for the power industry.
His Excellency Ahmed Al Jassar, Minister of Electricity & Water, said: “This Technology Center reflects the commitment that both the Ministry of Electricity & Water and GE have to promote, develop and sustain future Kuwaiti and international talents to serve the power industry in the Middle East region with future prospects to serve the world.”
Sheikh Dr. Meshaal Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Director General of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority, said: “The Kuwait GE Technology Center is a strong investment by one of the world’s leading companies highlighting the strong competitiveness of the Kuwaiti economy. Apart from serving as a key pillar in supporting the country’s energy sector, the Center is also placing emphasis on localized innovation and Kuwaiti talent development. This complements the goals of KDIPA in promoting inward investments to ensure transfer of technology and with a strong focus on talent and skill development of Kuwaitis, as well as meeting the country’s national vision and development priorities.”
Manaf Alhajeri, CEO of Markaz, said: “We, at Markaz, are proud to be working with GE and KDIPA as a financial advisor and a partner in this project, which plays a pivotal role in importing power generation technology to the State of Kuwait. We are confident that the Center will have a strong regional significance and result in considerable value-add to the local economy. This is an early indication that KDIPA’s single-window framework will have a huge positive impact on bringing important projects, like this one, to the State of Kuwait in the future.”
Steve Bolze, President & CEO of GE Power, said: “GEKTC is a landmark initiative that underlines our deep commitment to foster Kuwaiti technical talent in the energy sector. A co-creation ecosystem that is defined by close collaboration between industry and academia, the Center will not only be an innovation hub but also enable us to service our customers better and support them in strengthening the competencies of their professionals in advanced digital industrial technology. The path-breaking R&D at the Center is aimed at driving the productivity and operational efficiency of our customers, especially through co-creation initiatives on GE’s digital industrial technologies, thus helping meet the goals of Kuwait Vision 2035 to achieve the country’s transformational growth.”
The GEKTC Story
First announced in 2015, GEKTC is a world-class facility established to support the Middle East and Africa by providing enriching training programs, a sustainable tooling center and innovative engineering for decades to come.
GEKTC features a large generator, steam turbine and gas turbine, and offers practical training on advanced power sector technology and solutions including the GE 7E gas turbine, D11 steam turbine, aero derivative gas turbines and more.
GEKTC will also focus on Hot & Harsh research that evaluates the effect of high temperature, dust, corrosion, erosion, duty cycle, and fuel harshness, which have a critical impact on the reliability and efficiency of power plants. The findings of these studies will be applied on turbines and generators of GE’s customers, further strengthening their reliability and efficiency.
GEKTC Training Center: Offering both theoretical and hands-on training, the Training Center will support more than 900 trainees a year. It will have a tailored curriculum for internal field engineers and customers, which will be taught by GE experts, using physical units. This supports localized training initiatives that meet the real needs of customers in the region. The Training Center will help customers to understand the best training program they need to maximize the capabilities of their current employees and educate new employees in the most efficient way possible. The programs will commence at the end of this year.
GEKTC Tooling Center: Featuring all the necessary tools required to support the maintenance and modification of GE and non-GE gas turbines, generators and steam turbines, the Tooling Center serves as a repair hub, delivering timely and quick service support for customers. With all tools now readily available in Kuwait itself, the Center will support the country’s power plants during any planned or forced outages and will result in tool delivery time being reduced by up to 90%. In a bid to support the local SME sector, the Center will work with local vendors and suppliers for tooling orders, consumables, certification and calibrations of tooling This will enable local suppliers to interact with GE’s international suppliers and manufacturers, and be part of GE’s global supply chain.
GEKTC Engineering Center: Addressing four critical technology areas: Failure Analysis and Material Life Assessment, Oil & Fuel Testing, Control Simulations, and Monitoring & Diagnostics, the Engineering Center will leverage the skills and facilities that only GE can offer to the engineering community in Kuwait and around the region. The Center will co-create solutions for challenges faced by field engineers and customers, and provide innovative ideas for improving the performance of the GE fleet in the region. The Center will also offer the first troubleshooting and simulation laboratory across the Middle East and Africa, enabling GE’s engineers to respond faster to complex control issues associated with plant operations or equipment upgrades.
Building on GE’s strong presence in Kuwait
Since the early 1970s, GE has been a strong partner to Kuwait’s public and private sectors, supporting the country’s infrastructure needs across the aviation, power, water, oil and gas industries. With more than 200 employees based in country, GE is a dedicated partner, in Kuwait, for Kuwait.
In local talent development commitments, GE has signed an MoU with KU College of Engineering and Petroleum to work together and promote localized research. The agreement aims to engage both entities in educating, developing and training students and engineers in the power generation sector. GE will also extend its support to senior graduation projects of KU students, facilitate field trips and visits, organize joint seminars, and offer summer internships for selected students.
The ‘Innovation Partner’ of the first Kuwait Global Technopreneurship Challenge 2015 organized by KU to mark the 40th anniversary of its College of Engineering and Petroleum, GE is also focused on driving the competencies of the Kuwaiti professionals through dedicated training programs and knowledge transfer programs.