Koç University was founded in 1993 as a non-profit private university in Istanbul, Turkey. Since its establishment, Koç University has become one of the leading research universities in Turkey. The number of publications per faculty member at Koç University is one of the highest amongst other Turkish universities. As of 2011, 10 faculty members received TÜBİTAK Science Award, 1 received TÜBİTAK Special Award, 21 received TÜBİTAK Encouragement Award, 3 received TÜBA Encouragement Award and 37 received TÜBA GEBİP Award.
Tüpraş is Turkey’s largest industrial enterprise operating four oil refineries, with a total of 28.1 million tons annual crude oil processing capacity. Its vision is to be a company admired for its performance, and a standard bearer in the petroleum sector for its respect for the environment and life values. It guides the sector through accomplished innovation, and strives to supply the nation’s petroleum products needs.
Tüpraş desires KUTEM to provide a sustainable environment for joint industry university research projects, to train students for jobs in R&D in industry and to combine fundamental and applied research for increasing the competitive power of the Turkish industry. Koç University expects that KUTEM will be an internationally recognized institution in the field of energy research, and thus contribute to its efforts in providing world-class education to its students.
Our research efforts in the fossil fuels area will concentrate on improving the efficiency of fuel production technologies, developing processes to reduce green house emissions and helping enable the production of imported technologies in Turkey. We are also planning on working to develop technologies that will utilize the coal resources of our country for electricity and liquid fuel production. We hope that our center will thus be able to contribute to reduce Turkey’s current account deficit.
We believe that the use of biofuels will increase in the coming decade and biofuels have potential as renewable fuels in Turkey. However, the biofuels which are in use today (ethanol, biodiesel) compete with edible food sources, lead to inflation of food prices, hunger and loss of forests. In order to prevent that, we will carry out research to obtain fuels from sources which are not used for food such as algae, forest residues and switch grass. We will take advantage of the strong biology and biotechnology research programs in our university.
As the fossil fuel reserves are expected to run out in approximately 100 years, it is necessary to find and develop alternative fuels. The promising ones are hydrogen which can be obtained by photocatalytic splitting of water and hydrocarbons by photocatalytic reactions of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Therefore, KUTEM will concentrate on development of technologies for economical production of solar fuels and artificial photosynthesis.