Friday, March 5, 2021

In a first, UAE uses entirely solar powered process to manufacture aluminium

The Emirates have made their mark in the digital space with enthusiasm for new technology and use of online tools to promote public health and well being of businesses. But the gulf’s tech capital has no plans of slowing down after a year of fast-paced digital transition, and it has started setting milestones in sustainable growth through innovation.

Abu Dhabi has initiated projects to create hydrogen fuel despite having one of the world’s biggest oil reserves, while Dubai has already started supplying solar electricity to homes. Now the Emirates are all set to deploy green power to scale up manufacturing, since a smelter in Dubai has become the world’s first unit to produce aluminium using only solar energy.

The sun’s power will be channeled through world’s largest solar park near Dubai, to create the metal used in everything from smartphones to construction. The deal between Dubai’s local authorities and Emirates Global Aluminium will ensure enough supply of electricity from the solar facility, for a smelter to make 40,000 tonnes of aluminium every year.

Creating aluminium from alternative energy resources will not only contribute to development of light-weight vehicles for electric mobility, but the metal is also essential for thermal collectors at solar power plants.

The end product will also be marketed under a separate brand name CelestiAL, for consumers who choose to use environment friendly materials.

Introduction of clean energy capabilities into industrial scale manufacturing marks a significant leap forward for Dubai’s aim to source 75% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. The Emirati city which seeks to cut down impact of fossil fuels in the environment has already reduced 22% of its carbon emissions in 2019.

Dubai has taken innovation for sustainable power beyond solar panels, by roping in a Swedish firm to capture sun’s heat in an aluminium block, to be used post-sunset. Emirati capital Abu Dhabi isn’t far behind, since it has set sights on the sun as a resource with the world’s biggest single-site solar plant.

Image: Shutterstock

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