Rolls-Royce delivers kinetic power to Saudi Arabia supercomputer and data centre


Rolls-Royce is to supply 12 mtu Kinetic PowerPacks to King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, to help green its supercomputing capacity.

The systems, equipped with dynamically rotating kinetic energy accumulators, will be used to provide the university's supercomputing facility and data centre with “clean” conditioned uninterruptible power supplies acting as an energy backbone, said Rolls-Royce.

Each mtu Kinetic PowerPack type KP5 has a power output of 1.6MW, operates in medium voltage at 13.8kV, 60Hz, and is powered by an mtu diesel engine type 16V 4000 G74S. The units are designed for humid ambient conditions and temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius.

The systems are produced in Liège, Belgium and will be fitted into custom-made enclosures in the United Arab Emirates before being installed at KAUST. The university deal - worth “double digit millions” says Rolls-Royce - includes medium-voltage switchgear and transformers as well as two control stations. The turnkey plant is expected to be commissioned at the end of 2021.

The PowerPacks will be installed in two groups of six systems each, with one available as a back-up in each group. In the event of a power outage the constantly rotating, heavy kinetic energy accumulator will drive the generator and bridge the few seconds until the diesel engine takes over.

The previous supercomputer “Shaheen 2” is currently being replaced at King Abdullah by a more powerful one to support research and development and deliver scientific findings.

“We've been in discussions with the customer since 2016 and were able to fulfil all their requirements that include substantial local content,” said Bernard Hanssens, managing director of the Rolls-Royce subsidiary in Dubai.

Dynamic uninterruptible power supply systems have been part of the Rolls-Royce portfolio since the acquisition of Kinolt SA in July 2020.