UAE aluminium producer takes aim at silicon metal market

Emirates Global Aluminium currently produces 40,000 tonnes of aluminium powered with solar PV. Image: Emirates Global Aluminium.

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), among the world’s largest suppliers of aluminium, is to enter the silicon metal market with a solar powered plant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

EGA said it intended to bring online its first silicon metal facility in the country as early as next year,

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO at EGA, said: “Developing a silicon metal manufacturing facility would secure our supply of a strategic raw material.”

Around a quarter of current production for EGA is centred on foundry alloy, which uses a mix of silicon metal and aluminium, and with a focus on manufacturing parts for the automative industry, the construction of a silicon metal plant could be expanded to other domestic industries, including solar PV.

EGA imports nearly 60,000 thousand tonnes of silicon metal per year, typically from China which is the provider of almost 70% of the world’s silicon metal output.

The construction of a plant in the UAE could bolster a solar PV manufacturing value chain in the country, while EGA has also noted the opportunity for solar PV-powered silicon metal production to decarbonise a link of the supply chain that is today largely powered by coal.

This is not the first project EGA has used solar energy for manufacturing, last year it had partnered with UEA utility Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to be supplied 56,000GWh of solar power yearly in order to produce 40,000 tonnes of aluminium which is being sold under the name CelestiAL.

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