Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, announced that EGA’sCelestiAL solar aluminium will be blasted into space through a partnership with Gulf Extrusions and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
EGA’s metal has been formed in Jebel Ali into parts for MBRSC’s MBZ-SAT, the region’s most advanced commercial satellite in the field of high-resolution satellite imagery, which is due to be launched in 2024.
The partnership is a space sector milestone for Make it in the Emirates, supporting the UAE’s Operation 300bn ambition to more than double the size of the industrial sector by 2031, and for the UAE’s goal of being a leader in space exploration.
The first fully UAE-made parts have already been delivered to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre at Al Khawaneej in Dubai.
His Excellency Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said, “At MBRSC, our mission is not only to explore the vast potential of space but also to drive the diversification of the UAE’s economy. We recognise the immense value of joining forces with diverse partners to leverage their unique expertise and capabilities. By forging strategic partnerships with innovative entities such as Emirates Global Aluminium and Gulf Extrusions, we are able to expand the horizons of the UAE’s space sector. Together, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation and fuelling the growth of this vital industry.”
Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium, said, “At EGA, we have been making it in the Emirates since 1979. We are proud to now provide CelestiAL solar aluminium, together with Gulf Extrusions, to another UAE champion which will use it to reach beyond the sky on behalf of our nation. Aluminium is an essential material for modern life, including space travel, and the UAE’s production through EGA is a global contribution to human progress.”
Omar Shegem, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Extrusions, said, “Our parts, made in the UAE with EGA’s aluminium, are already found in everything from cars to skyscrapers around the world. We are now honoured that our work will leave the Earth’s atmosphere for the first time as part of MBZ-SAT. Together we are making it in the Emirates for the world and beyond.”
MBRSC has been dedicated to the advancement of space science, technology, and exploration, playing a pivotal role in the UAE’s space ambitions. The Centre’s main activities encompass the UAE Satellite Programme, the UAE Astronaut Programme, the Emirates Mars Mission, and the Mars 2117 Programme which includes the Emirates Lunar Mission and Space Ventures, among others. Recognising the importance of collaboration, MBRSC actively engages in partnerships with private entities, fostering innovation and driving the growth of the space sector.
Since the first satellite launch in 1957, aluminium has been the leading material in space exploration due to its lightweight, strength and resistance to corrosion.
EGA’s aluminium is the largest made-in-the-UAE export after oil and gas and is shipped to more than 50 countries worldwide. In 2021, EGA became the first company in the world to produce aluminium commercially using solar power through a partnership with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, which operates the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in the desert outside Dubai. Electricity generation accounts for around 60 per cent of the global aluminium industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. The use of solar power significantly reduces these emissions.
Last year, EGA hosted UAE astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori for a virtual discussion with employees about the uses of aluminium in space.
EGA is one of the UAE’s most innovative companies and has developed its own aluminium smelting technology in the UAE for more than 30 years. EGA’s latest technology, DX+ Ultra, is amongst the most efficient in the global aluminium industry. The company has used its own technology in all its smelter expansions since the 1990s has retrofitted all its older production lines and was the first UAE industrial company to license its core process technology internationally.
Gulf Extrusions, a subsidiary of Al Ghurair Group, is one of 26 UAE customers of EGA which make everything from car parts to window frames for the local market and global export. EGA supplies some 10 per cent of its metal to local companies, and the aluminium sector as a whole account for 1.5 per cent of the entire UAE economy.