Saudi Arabia’s Roshn to build carbon-negative concrete plant

The project is expected to create more than 100 jobs in the kingdom

A worker at a construction site in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. AFP
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Saudi-based real estate developer Roshn has partnered with Riyadh-based climate tech company Partanna Arabia to construct a carbon-negative concrete production plant.

Instead of using Portland cement, which is a major source of carbon emissions, Partanna uses a special mixture of natural and recycled materials.

The binder components consume carbon dioxide as they dry, removing carbon from the atmosphere in the process.

The project, which is expected to create more than 100 jobs in the kingdom, will initially deliver carbon-negative pavers, and has the potential to produce blocks, tile, precast and pour-in-place solutions over time, Partanna said on Thursday.

“Together, we’re going to show the world that you can build sustainably without compromise,” said Rick Fox, chief executive of Partanna.

At full capacity, the concrete plant has the potential to generate 1.3 million carbon credits annually.

Those high-quality carbon credits can be sold to Saudi businesses looking to offset their emissions, Partanna said.

Carbon credits, also known as carbon offsets, are permits that allow companies to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.

The proceeds from the sale of the credits are used to finance climate action projects.

Buildings are responsible for 39 per cent of global energy-related carbon emissions, with 28 per cent attributed to operational emissions – energy needed to heat, cool and power them – according to a World Green Building Council report from 2019.

The remaining 11 per cent stems from materials and construction, the WGBC said.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has set a target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2060. It also plans to more than double its target of reducing annual carbon emissions to 278 million tonnes by 2030.

The kingdom is transforming its economy under its Vision 2030 diversification agenda as it aims to reduce its dependence on oil, boost domestic industries and support job growth.

It is developing several large projects in line with this strategy, including Qiddiya, as well as Neom, a $500 billion futuristic city, the Red Sea Project and the Diriyah Gate heritage development.

GlobalData, a research firm, expects Saudi Arabia’s construction industry to grow by 4.6 per cent this year, before recording an average annual growth rate of 5.1 per cent from next year to 2027, supported by progress in major projects and the government’s focus on economic diversification.

Updated: January 11, 2024, 12:04 PM