Saudi Arabia to host world’s largest solar process heat plant

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Saudi Arabian Mining Company (MA’ADEN) and industrial solar steam specialist GlassPoint have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop the world’s largest solar process heat plant.

The 1,500MW solar steam facility, to be developed at MA’ADEN’s Alumina refinery, aims to help MA’ADEN achieve sustainability goals by reducing carbon emissions by over 600,000 tons annually. This represents more than a 50 per cent carbon footprint reduction in MA’ADEN’s Alumina refinery and four per cent of MA’ADEN’s overall carbon footprint.

The MOU was signed at MA’ADEN in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Riyadh Al Nassar, senior vice president of MA’ADEN’s aluminium business and Rod MacGregor, CEO and founder of GlassPoint, witnessed by MA’ADEN CEO Robert Wilt and GlassPoint CCO Jacob Drejer.

“As the third pillar of the Saudi economy, we aspire to be a role model in ESG in the Kingdom,” said Wilt in a statement. “This significant development will dramatically reduce our carbon footprint and bring us closer to our mandate of carbon neutrality by 2050. As the world moves towards green aluminium, MA’ADEN intends to help lead the way in this transition.”

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According to Al Nassar, the new facility will be known as MA’ADEN Solar 1 and will allow steam, produced through solar power, to refine bauxite ore into alumina. 

“Alumina is a critical feedstock to aluminium, which is one of the world’s most crucial metals for many global industries going into a future that is focused on environment and sustainability,” he commented.

Saudi Arabia has unveiled the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) to advance the country’s sustainability efforts, last year announcing a first wave of more than 60 initiatives amounting to a SAR 700bn ($186bn) investment to accelerate the green economy across Saudi Arabia and beyond.

Rod MacGregor, CEO and founder of GlassPoint said that the MOU will allow the company to enter a new phase of growth, helping a range of industries to decarbonise.