The United Arab Emirates (UAE) claimed it will be the world’s first state to produce aluminium using solar energy after a massive power deal involving one of the world’s largest renewable energy projects.
Utility Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will supply 560GWh annually from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to metals group Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), said a statement from the two companies.
EGA will tap the power to produce a new brand of green aluminium under the name CelestiAL, targeting export markets around the world that are increasingly looking for supplies zero-carbon materials to meet regulatory or corporate decarbonisation goals.
The solar deal will enable production of 40,000 tonnes of aluminium in its first year with scope for “significant expansion”, said the partners.
Along with the likes of chemicals, metals is among a clutch of energy-intensive industries seen as among the toughest to decarbonise and wean off heavy use of fossil-based sources.
Existing power deals between the metals industry and renewable sources have focused on wind, including a 1.65TWh 2018 deal for Swedish output struck by aluminium producer Norsk Hydro that was seen as a pioneer of the sector.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park already has 1GW in place and is due to hit 5GW by 2030 using a mix of PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) technology.
The most recent auction for the multi-phase project saw 900MW of PV awarded in 2019 after a winning bid of $16.95/MWh that’s among the lowest renewable power price seen globally.
Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO of EGA said: “Aluminium is lightweight, strong and infinitely recyclable metal and these properties mean that as a material it plays a vital global role in the development of a sustainable future. However, it also matters how sustainably aluminium is made.”