Saudi mining giant Ma'aden and US-based industrial solar steam company GlassPoint have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to develop the world's largest solar process heat plant at Ma'aden's alumina refinery in Ras Al Khair.
The 1,500-megawatt (MW) solar thermal plant, which will be called Ma'aden Solar 1, will replace fossil fuels with solar power to produce steam which would be used refine bauxite ore into alumina, Glasppoint said in a press statement.
It said the project is expected to help Ma'aden reduce carbon emissions by over 600,000 tonnes annually, which represents more than 50 percent reduction of Alumina plant's carbon footprint and four percent of Ma'aden's overall carbon footprint.
The facility when complete will also be the first industrial solar steam plant deployed in the aluminum supply chain, the statement noted.
Rod MacGregor, CEO and founder of GlassPoint said: "With this MOU, GlassPoint is entering a new phase of growth to help decarbonize a range of industries seeking to lower their carbon footprint."
The alumina refinery has an annual production capacity of 1.8 million tonnes
GlassPoint was the technology partner for Petroleum Development Oman's 1,021 MW Miraah solar thermal facility in South Oman, which replaces natural gas with solar power to prodce steam for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the Amal oilfield.
(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)