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Ma’aden and GlassPoint Unveil Plans to Build Solar Thermal Technology Showcase


Jan 11, 2024

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), the largest multi-commodity mining and metals company firm in the Middle East, and GlassPoint, the leader in decarbonizing industrial process heat, today unveiled plans to build a Technology Showcase for its solar steam technology during the Future Minerals Forum taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Technology Showcase marks the first stage of project development for the world’s largest industrial solar thermal project and will have capacity to supply nine tons of steam per hour to begin decarbonizing Ma’aden’s aluminum supply chain.

The Technology Showcase will combine direct generation of heat and storage to provide a continuous base load of steam to Ma’aden’s Alumina refinery at Ras al Khair. Initial capacity will be about 1% of the larger project, which is slated to save more than 12M MMBTUs of energy annually and reduce carbon emissions by 600,000 tons per year.

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 decarbonization 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: "Governments have agreed that we must act now to scale renewables and transition away from fossil fuels to stop climate change. Our 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 decarbonization which is not only setting ambitious climate goals but also developing the projects to fulfill them."

Low-carbon aluminum increasingly commands a premium with industrial companies who seek to meet sustainability requirements from their customers. Moreover, new policies such as the EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism will tax high-carbon imports and make low-carbon aluminum, enabled by solar thermal solutions, even more appealing.

The Technology Showcase will include several new advancements from GlassPoint that reduce the cost of its solutions by more than 30%. 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 levelized cost of energy.

Plans for the Technology Showcase come on the heels of GlassPoint’s October announcement 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.