Solvay to build carbon-neutral soda ash plant in Saudi Arabia

Solvay has revealed plans to build the world’s first carbon-neutral soda ash production facility in Neom, Saudi Arabia.

Pending the results of an in-depth feasibility study and customary regulatory approvals, Solvay and Neom’s energy and water company ENOWA, plan to begin operation of the plant by 2030.

Located off of the Red Sea coast to support access to markets across the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, the renewable-powered plant will convert seawater brine into soda ash and integrate the e.Solvay process for sustainable and carbon-neutral soda ash production.

The partners aim to start 500,000 tons soda ash nameplate capacity by 2030, which would gradually increase up to 1.5 million tons by 2035, with the potential addition of sodium bicarbonate production.

Earlier this year, an e.Solvay pilot production process began operations in Dombasle, France.

Designed to evaluate the viability of a more sustainable and competitive soda ash production technology, the pilot has yielded positive results, showcasing potential for low emissions, reduced resource and energy consumption, and complete removal of limestone residues.

Soda ash, also called sodium carbonate, is used in skincare and haircare products to regulate pH levels.

It can be found in products such as exfoliants, shampoos and conditioners, bath oils and salts, and moisturizers.

“The soda ash plant at Neom will be the first of its kind, as it adopts the new e.Solvay process to attain carbon neutrality," said Solvay CEO Philippe Kehren.

“This new plant will reinforce Solvay’s global leadership position, ensuring a sustainable supply of carbon-neutral soda ash to our valued customers. This endeavour aligns seamlessly with our sustainability ambitions and complements our unique network of industrial assets worldwide.”

In a related development, Solvay has completed the spin off of Syensqo.

The partial demerger became effective on 9 December and the two companies started trading as two separate entities — Solvay and Syensqo — on 11 December.

Syensqo comprises two business segments: Materials, serving mainly the automotive and aerospace sectors, and Consumer & Resources, focused on manufacturing solutions for a range of applications including home, personal care, and agriculture.

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