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Saudi Arabia Is Building The World’s Largest Solar-Powered Steam Plant

In another attempt to achieve environmental sustainability, the Saudi Arabian mining company “Ma’aden” has collaborated with the U.S.-based solar company “Glasspoint” to contribute toward the goal of reducing its carbon footprint on the environment. Both companies are industry leaders and have come together on a single platform to manufacture the world’s largest steam plant powered by solar energy in Saudi Arabia. The plant would help in decarbonizing the process of aluminum, which has a lot of practical applications in our daily lives.

In a recent statement released by Arab News, this upcoming power plant, once completed, will drastically reduce carbon emissions by up to 600,000 tons annually. Seeing the ultimate objectives of the projected plan, a lot of other industries are coming forward in this venture. Hence, Apple recently announced its partnership with two giant suppliers of aluminum, named “Rio Tinto and Alcoa”, for the purpose of introducing a smelting method that would produce oxygen instead of carbon dioxide and hence, make the production of aluminum more sustainable.

“Ma’aden” and “Glass Point” have decided on “Ras al Khair” to be the location of this new solar thermal plant. It has been adjudicated in a deal that Glass Point would be responsible for providing solar steam to the project. The senior vice president of MA’ADEN’s aluminum business, Riyadh Al Nassar, explained, “The steam will be used to refine bauxite ore into alumina.” “Alumina is a critical feedstock to aluminum, which is one of the world’s most crucial metals for many global industries going into a future that is focused on the environment and sustainability,”

The generation of steam is the basic step in the production of aluminum, and most industries utilize coal or gas so that they can boil the water, which would then be used for the steam after passing through the stage of bauxite refining. On the other hand, the method that the Saudi steam plant will employ is the integration of big curved mirrors. The sunlight will be reflected from these dangling mirrors, which are put inside the greenhouse, and in this way, we will harness the process of steam generation from this reflected heat. It is worth mentioning that GlassPoint will install this setup at the Saudi power plant until it becomes serviceable.

This is going to be a breakthrough in the energy sector as it can generate 1500 megawatts of solar energy. However, Rod MacGregor, CEO and founder of Glass Point, stated in an interview, “This facility, when built, will be the largest industrial solar steam plant in the world and the first deployed in both Saudi Arabia and the aluminum supply chain.”