EGA aims to decarbonise its operations as demand for green aluminium spikes

Company has been focusing on developing its own technology to slash emissions, senior executive says

Salman Abdulla, executive vice president of Emirates Global Aluminium, speaks at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai on Wednesday. Ruel Pableo / The National
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Emirates Global Aluminium, the UAE’s biggest industrial conglomerate outside the country’s oil and gas sector, is focused on decarbonising its operations as it looks to tap into global demand for green aluminium.

The company, which produces about 2.7 million tonnes of aluminium every year, is developing its own technology to decarbonise its operations and reduce emissions, Salman Abdulla, executive vice president of HSSEQ (health, safety, sustainability, environment and quality) at EGA, said at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit in Dubai on Wednesday.

“EGA has been developing its own technology, so if you look at last 10 or 15 years, the carbon intensity of our product has been continuously reducing and this is something which we do by developing our own technology,” he said.

The company aims to lower its emissions further in the next 10 to 15 years through “breakthrough technologies” even as green sources of energy including hydrogen and solar become available for power generation, Mr Abdulla said.

EGA is also focusing on the supply chain part of its operations to make sure “they (suppliers) are aligned with the objectives of 2050 (on slashing emissions)".

The UAE aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 with new investments worth Dh600 billion ($163.5bn) planned in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades.

EGA, which is jointly owned by Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment arm Mubadala Investment Company and the Investment Corporation of Dubai, is also taking other measures as it continues to prioritise environmental protection.

This year, it installed a 600 megawatt power plant at its manufacturing unit in Jebel Ali, which will help the company reduce emissions by 10 per cent in its operations as well as in power generation.

Demand for aluminium has been increasing as global economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Prices have jumped more than 25 per cent since the start of the year to trade at $2,668.50 per tonne at 3.45pm UAE time on Wednesday.

Demand has been “great”, Abdulnasser bin Kalban, chief executive of EGA, told the GMIS summit on Tuesday.

“We can see recovery for all the aluminium products we are doing from Japan all the way to Peru. We cannot even sustain the demand and customers are asking for more and more green aluminium.”

EGA is also producing aluminium using solar power and signed a “triple-digit million-euro” deal with BMW to supply it with 43,000 metric tonnes of metal that will help the German car manufacturer to slash 2.5 million tonnes of emissions over the next 10 years.

“The customer is very happy with it and they are asking for more,” Mr bin Kalban said.

EGA reported its strongest half-yearly results in 2021 after its earnings more than doubled from the same period a year earlier amid higher demand for its products and the global economic recovery.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or Ebitda, for the six months to the end of June climbed to Dh3.49bn.

This month, the company completed the expansion of Al Taweelah smelter in Abu Dhabi to boost output capacity at the plant by 78,000 tonnes per year.

Updated: November 25, 2021, 3:47 PM