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UAE industrial giant to supply solar aluminium for Nissan cars

Nissan car Unsplash
Nissan will use the aluminium to make vehicle body panels such as doors and bonnets

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the largest non-oil and gas industry company in the UAE, has agreed to supply solar power-produced aluminium to Japan to make Nissan cars.

The agreement with Kobe Steel will see the supply of EGA’s CelestiAL solar aluminium to one of the largest rolling mills in Japan. Automotive body sheet is used by the giant Japanese automaker to form vehicle body panels such as doors and bonnets.

The deal builds on CelestiAL supply agreements with BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz parts-maker Hammerer Aluminum Industries.

EGA currently supplies thousands of tonnes of aluminium to Kobe Steel every year, in a business relationship that stretches back more than 25 years.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, CEO of EGA, said: “We are proud that our CelestiAL metal will now be used in Nissan vehicles through Kobe Steel, as well as those of other leading global car companies.

“We look forward to increasing our production of CelestiAL over the years ahead, contributing to the decarbonisation of EGA and of end-user industries including auto manufacturing.”

In 2021, EGA became the first company in the world to produce aluminium commercially using solar power through a partnership with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).

The company expects to vastly increase its production of CelestiAL through an initiative with Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, Dubal Holding, and Emirates Water and Electricity Company, to divest its electricity generation assets and instead source power from the grid, including an increasing proportion of clean energy.

The scale of the expansion is expected to be greater than the current total installed solar generation capacity in the UAE. EGA said it will use this additional solar power once it is developed.

Dewa supplies EGA’s smelter with 560,000 megawatt hours of solar power yearly from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, sufficient to make 40,000 tonnes of aluminium in the first year with the potential for significant expansion. 

The deal aims to support the goals of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 in diversifying energy sources and providing 75 percent of Dubai’s energy production capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. 

Producing aluminium is energy intensive, so using solar power significantly reduces the emissions involved

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. 

BMW Group became the first customer for CelestiAL aluminium last year and EGA will supply 43,000 tonnes per year.

Using solar aluminium will reduce BMW Group’s emissions by 222,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and will cover almost half the annual requirements of Plant Landshut, BMW’s only production facility for light metal casting in Europe. 

Producing aluminium is energy intensive, and generating electricity accounts for some 60 percent of the global aluminium industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. The use of solar power significantly reduces the emissions associated with aluminium smelting.