Egypt's ministers of electricity and higher education inaugurated a €22 million multipurpose applications by thermodynamic solar (MATS) plant in Borg El-Arab, Alexandria on Tuesday, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.
The European Union is contributing €12 million to the project, which began in July 2011.
The plant is expected to produce over 3,000 MWh of electricity and about 8,900 MWh of thermal energy every year when it reaches its last phase of operation, according to the European Commission.
The project was initially slated for completion by January 2015.
The MATS plant is set to produce “electricity, heat, cooling, and desalinated water by using solar energy integrated with other energy sources which are available locally,” according to the European Commission’s official website.
The technology used in the project is called Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology and was developed by ENEA, the Italian national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development.
“The technology will use molten salts as heat transfer fluid and will produce heat and power from solar sources integrated with renewable fuels, such as biomass, biogas and industrial residues,” according to the website.
Industrial and research partners in the project are from Egypt, Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
These include The Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Delft Environment and Orascom from Egypt, Archimede Solar Energy, Kinetics Technology, and Ronda from Italy, Cranfield University from the United Kingdom, and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.
“The research consortium partners strongly aim at transforming a semi-desert region into a technological hub whilst preserving and consolidating the collaboration between the EU and Egypt over time in sustainable research, innovation and development,” according to ENEA’s website.
A workshop on “Public-Private Partnerships and Technology Development in renewable energy” is set to take place Wednesday in Cairo.
Egypt aims to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022.