Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) and US-based industrial solar steam company GlassPoint announced the first phase of project development for the world’s largest industrial solar thermal project in Ras al Khair to decarbonise Ma’aden’s aluminium supply chain.

The announcement was made during the Future Minerals Forum in capital Riyadh last week, GlassPoint said in a press statement.

The first stage, called The Technology Showcase, will combine direct generation of heat and storage to supply 9 tonnes per hour of continuous base load of steam to Ma’aden’s Alumina refinery at Ras al Khair.

The initial capacity represents about 1 percent of the larger project, which is slated to save more than 12M MMBTUs of energy annually and reduce carbon emissions by 600,000 tonnes per year, the GlassPoint statement said.

Robert Wilt, CEO of Ma’aden said: “Ma’aden is taking action today to help the Kingdom achieve its net zero target by 2060. Our Technology Showcase with GlassPoint represents an important step toward large-scale decarbonisation that will firmly position Ma’aden as a sustainable industrial leader and support the continued advancement of important climate goals.”

Rod MacGregor, GlassPoint founder and CEO, stated: "The Technology Showcase is an important first step to kick off project development and begin building on location. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to stand out as a leader in decarbonisation which is not only setting ambitious climate goals but also developing the projects to fulfill them."

The Technology Showcase will include several new advancements from GlassPoint that reduce the cost of its solutions by more than 30 percent. Enhancements include GlassPoint’s Unify storage system, which uses direct heat and ternary molten salts to provide around-the-clock steam for industry, as well lighter materials which boost solar efficiency and notably reduce weight, materials, carbon intensity, shading and the levelised cost of energy.

In October 2023, GlassPoint announced that it will partner with the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia to build a solar manufacturing facility in the Eastern Province that will serve as an export hub for clean energy projects throughout the region.

(Writing by Dennis Daniel; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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