The milestone supports the UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to make Dubai the most sustainable city in the world

UAE solar aluminium

The economic potential of solar power is starting to be realised as costs, which are down by an average of 18% every year since 2010, continue to tumble (Credit: Shutterstock/Diyana Dimitrova)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first nation to produce aluminium using solar energy.

The milestone supports the UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to make Dubai the most sustainable city in the world and take the lead in the development and application of scientific and technological advances in the energy sector.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will provide Emirates Global Aluminium’s (EGA) smelter with 560,000 megawatt-hours of solar power a year from the 5-gigawatt (GW) Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

EGA, who will supply the solar aluminium to global customers under the new product name CelestiAL, claims the solar power it is set to receive will be sufficient to make 40,000 tonnes of aluminium in the first year with the potential for significant expansion.


Production of aluminium from solar energy confirms UAE commitment to green economy

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, CEO of DEWA and vice chairman of EGAsaid the achievement confirms the nation’s commitment to the prime minister’s vision for a “green economy” in the UAE, while also reaching the goals of the “Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050” in diversifying energy sources and providing 75% of Dubai’s energy production capacity from clean energy sources by the mid-century.

He added: “To achieve these goals, we have launched many initiatives and projects, most notably the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar energy project in the world with a capacity of 5GW by 2030. The solar park projects use photovoltaic panels and concentrated solar energy technologies.”

Al Tayer said the achievement also contributes to supporting the UAE’s efforts in reducing carbon emissions through the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy.

Dubai reduced carbon emissions by 22% in 2019 compared to business as usual, which exceeded the targets set out in the abatement strategy to reduce CO2 by 16% by 2021.


Availability to produce aluminium down to the UAE’s significant investment in solar power

The availability of solar power on the scale needed for aluminium smelting is down to the UAE’s significant investment in solar power.

Aluminium is used in products and infrastructure from smartphones to skyscrapers. Its uses include applications that contribute to a more sustainable environment from wind farms to electric vehicles, and mass transit to solar panels.

EGA CEO Abdulnasser Bin Kalban said: “Aluminium is a 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. CelestiAL will help make modern life possible for people around the world while protecting our planet for future generations.”

EGA said its sourcing of solar power from Dubai’s electricity grid will be tracked and traced through the use of the International Renewable Energy Certification System, ensuring that the energy used to produce the CelestiAL solar aluminium has been sourced from the sun.