Many industries rely on steam in their production process. Usually, the steam — otherwise known as process heat — comes from burning fossil fuels. GlassPoint has just announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia to build a solar manufacturing facility and technology showcase in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
At full capacity, the facility will produce enough renewable energy annually to generate 5,000 tons of steam each day. It will offset four million MMBtus of methane gas and reduce carbon emissions by 200,000 tons each year. The steam produced will be used for projects in the metals & mining, building materials, and additional industrial sectors.
GlassPoint & Process Heat
The manufacturing facility will also support technology exports throughout the region, while helping to further diversify the Kingdom’s economy and deepen its leadership as a technology export hub. Last year, GlassPoint signed an MOU with the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (MA’ADEN) to develop the world’s largest solar process steam plant. According to the partnership terms, MISA will provide support and advisory services. GlassPoint will provide technology and operational expertise, while deploying the only solution proven at scale to decarbonize industrial heat.
H. E. Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi Minister of Investment, said, “Saudi Arabia is committed to leading the region in economic development as well as sustainability. Our partnership with GlassPoint demonstrates important progress in doing both, while also diversifying our economy, strengthening supply chains and deepening high-tech leadership.”
Asaad H. Aljomoai, the managing director of the Global Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, added, “MISA’s partnership with GlassPoint will deepen the Kingdom’s leadership in climate technology across the region. The new factory will play an important role in building some of the largest solar thermal projects in the world and also will create a new export market to advance renewable energy projects beyond our borders.”
Rod MacGregor, CEO and founder of GlassPoint, had this to say. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set a goal to generate 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2060. With support from MISA, GlassPoint’s new facilities will help deploy renewable energy across the Kingdom to help meet these targets. By helping decarbonize the industrial sector, we will improve the climate impact of hard-to-abate industries across the region and help meet rising demand for low-carbon materials.”
The partnership is part of MISA’s Global Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, which aims to attract strategic supply chains to Saudi Arabia and expand the Kingdom’s market share in sectors essential to combating climate change. The agreement also represents progress towards achieving Saudi Vision 2030 — a transformational plan that aims to diversify the country’s economy, society, and culture — as well as goals set out in the Saudi Green Initiative to create a greener future for all.
GlassPoint Funding From 300PPM
The news comes on the heels of GlassPoint’s recent funding round led by 300PPM to meet growing demand for proven solutions to decarbonize industrial process heat. The company recently added a slate of seasoned leaders to its board and opened a solar technology center in Stuttgart, Germany, to expand its innovation leadership.
300PPM says on its website its mission is to “accelerate the journey to met-zero by searching, developing, financing, and scaling infrastructure with a measurable decarbonization impact. We deliver operational and financial resources to entrepreneurs so they can boldly forge ahead to a Net-Zero reality. secure financing for large-scale climate infrastructure projects through a full array of public & private funding sources. Through efficient capital allocation and world-class operational support,we maximize the impact of every dollar we invest. Our modular approach helps us deploy climate infrastructure globally at speed and scale, and at a sensible price.”
GlassPoint claims it is the leader in decarbonizing the $444 billion industrial process heat market. By focusing on reducing emissions associated with the production of materials essential to the energy transition, GlassPoint is making a substantial impact on combating climate change. The company builds, owns and operates large scale solar steam facilities to reduce carbon emissions in hard to abate industries such as mining and metals, chemicals, construction materials, desalination, and more. It is the only solution proven at scale to reduce carbon emissions from industrial process heat and has built more than half of the industrial solar steam capacity in the world.
Davos In The Desert
The agreement with GlassPoint was just one of the announcements made this week at Saudi Arabia’s The Future Investment Initiative, dubbed Davos in the Desert. According to Axios, Hyundai announced it is partnering with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to build a $500 million factory to make both EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles in Saudi Arabia.
Danish freight forwarder DSV said on Monday it’s setting up a $10 billion joint venture with Neom, Saudi Arabia’s futuristic megacity project. Last month, Lucid Motors said it had opened a factory in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. The Kingdom plans to buy up to 100,000 Lucid vehicles over the next 10 years. Saudi PIF is Lucid’s largest shareholder.
Axios noted rather pointedly that five years ago, tech companies and Silicon Valley investors were among those who abruptly turned away from Saudi Arabia following the murder of Washington Post journalist and frequent critic of the regime Jamal Khashoggi. That hesitancy to do business with the Saudis has dissipated over time, apparently.
“All the resources that we can leverage into solving [the climate] problem, we should leverage,” said Val Miftakhov, the CEO of hydrogen aviation startup ZeroAvia, which counts Saudi Arabia’s Neom as one of its largest investors. GlassPoint’s MacGregor added, “When it comes to reducing emissions, you have to go to where the emissions are.”
Nevertheless, not everyone is willing to forgive and forget. “It is immoral to raise money from Saudi Arabia,” Founders Fund Partner Keith Rabois posted earlier this month on X. Axios also cautions that the violence between Israel and the Palestinians currently roiling the Middle East could stall Saudi Arabia’s foreign investment ambitions.
Anything that substitutes solar energy for fossil fuels is welcome news. Industries use a lot of steam at various points in the production process. If it can be made from harvesting sunlight instead of burning fossil fuels, the whole world will benefit. That being said, Saudi Arabia has contributed more to the carbon emissions that threaten the Earth’s environment than any nation in history. It has a duty to clean up its mess by partnering with companies like GlassPoint as quickly as possible.
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