SABIC to build world’s first renewable power chemical plant

SABIC plans to build a chemical plant in Spain fully powered by renewable energy in what is the first project of its kind anywhere in the world. The polycarbonate facility in Cartegena is expected to be fully operational by 2024, powered by a 100MW PV solar plant.

The deal will see Iberdrola, one of the world’s biggest electricity utility companies, invest almost €70 million to install 263,000 panels, on land owned by SABIC, making it the largest industrial renewable power plant in Europe.

The 25-year deal represents part of the Riyadh-based petrochemical company’s ambition to have 4 gigawatts (GW) of either wind or solar energy installed for its sites globally by 2025, rising to 12GW by 2030.

Last year the company installed solar panels at its sites in India and Thailand, helping to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 200 tons.

“Partnerships of this kind are the cornerstone of our business growth model,” said Bob Maughon, EVP Sustainability, Technology & Innovation at SABIC. “In recent years, the many breakthroughs in renewable energy technology have made deployment at this kind of scale possible.”

Once the solar powered facility in Cartagena comes online, SABIC’s customers, including those in the automotive and construction sectors, will have access to polycarbonate solutions produced with 100 percent renewable power, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

SABIC also plans to install PV technology at its global headquarters in Riyadh, while a final feasibility study is in progress with Marafiq and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu to explore a $300 million, 300 megawatt solar array project on the western coast of the Kingdom.

Once complete, SABIC will take the electricity generated by the plant and deliver it to local chemicals manufacturing plants, the company said. SABIC makes chemicals, plastics and agri-nutrients worldwide and employs more than 33,000 people.