Saudi Arabia is Developing a $2Bn Solar and Carbon Black Complex

In a bid to speed up renewable energy adoption in the country, Saudi Arabia is planning to create a mega complex for solar and carbon black

Saudi Arabia has revealed its plans to develop a $2 billion solar and carbon black integrated complex to speed up renewable energy programme in the country and is working on a collaboration with China’s Long Solar and South Korea’s OCI to help build the mega-complex.

Carbon black is produced from heavy petroleum products and is commonly used as a filler in tires and rubber products.

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The country is conducting a feasibility study for the project and has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the companies from China and South Korea, according to a Saudi official. The feasibility study is expected to be completed by the middle of this year.

“The Memorandum of Understanding is about conducting a feasibility study for an integrated complex that would make polysilicon available, which is basic raw material for the solar panels,” said Tariq Baksh, vice-president of chemicals and renewables programme, at Saudi Arabia’s National Industrial Clusters Programme.

“The project would be supported by carbon black that is going to be a sort of integration in connection with energy production,” he said without disclosing further details.

Mr. Baksh was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Saudi Arabia is targeting renewable energy of 60 gigawatts by 2030 and is planning to build a number of plants in the kingdom.

According to Dr. Khalid bin Saleh Al Sultan, president of the King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City, the sultanate plans include 40 GW of photovoltaic solar power, 3 GW of concentrated solar power and 16 GW of wind power. The move comes as part of a Saudi attempt to integrate more alternative energy sources under the framework of the KSA Vision 2030 and the National Transformation 2020 Programme.

Saudi Arabia, which reportedly, was implementing a deal with Japan’s Softbank to develop solar power, later scrapped a 200 GW Solar project.

The kingdom maintains that it wants to boost its power generation from renewables and cleaner gas-fired plants. But all its RE plans have been gathering dust on paper.

The kingdom, which burns about 700,000 barrels per day of oil for electricity in the hottest months from May to August, has hiked the price of gasoline and electricity for its citizens in a bid to curb domestic use of crude. Saudi Arabia expects, as a result, domestic energy consumption will fall by 1.5 million to 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2030. Ironically, despite its RE plans, The kingdom wants to export more crude to other nations by 2030.

Image Credit: Gulf News

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