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Sumitomo Corporation Signs MOU with Riyadh's Special Financial Zone to Curb Global Warming

February 06, 2023

On January 31, Sumitomo Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding with King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on thermal barrier pavements that will contribute to reducing the heat island effect (Note 1) in the district. The pavement will reflect infrared rays of sunlight to suppress the rise in road surface temperature by utilizing a special environmentally friendly, highly heat-blocking pavement material. After conducting test construction at several locations, the company will consider full-scale introduction of the pavement.

The MOU was announced at the "Japan-Saudi Vision 2030 Business Forum" held in Riyadh on December 26, 2022, and the official signing ceremony was held this time. The signing ceremony was attended by Sumitomo Corporation's General Manager for Middle East and Africa, Mr. Hajime Mori, KAFD's CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Mr. Gautam Sassittar, and officials from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns 100% of KAFD, the Middle East Cooperation Center, and JETRO Riyadh Office.

The Saudi Arabian government is committed to decarbonization and energy conservation, and is actively introducing the latest technologies in order to achieve the "Saudi Vision 2030" and the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. In addition, the government recommends daily exercise to improve people's lifestyle-related diseases, but in Saudi Arabia, where the sun shines strongly throughout the year and the temperature tends to be high, it has been difficult for people to walk outdoors. The introduction of this technology is expected to help both parties achieve their goals.

KAFD is committed to developing smart cities and energy-efficient buildings, and has already introduced a waste treatment system, water recycling, and a cooling plant for district cooling (Note 2), but CEO Sassittar said, "The introduction of this pavement agent will lower the temperature in the district, which will help tenants, residents, and employees The paving agent will also improve the living and working environment for tenants, residents, and employees," he said.

Sumitomo Corporation, together with NIPPO, which owns the technology related to this pavement agent, has been conducting test construction in the Middle East region, and in Saudi Arabia, the agent has already been introduced on a trial basis in Mecca, a place of pilgrimage. This paving agent can be applied not only to road surfaces but also to roofs and walls to lower indoor temperatures, and further business opportunities are expected in Riyadh, where residential construction is accelerating.

(Note 1) A phenomenon in which the temperature of a city becomes higher than its surroundings. It occurs when structures and pavements absorb heat from the sun and release it to the surrounding area. There are concerns about health hazards such as heat stroke and ecological changes such as the overwintering of mosquitoes that carry infectious diseases.

(Note 2) A system in which chilled water is produced at one or several heat supply facilities and supplied through regional conduits to a group of buildings in a certain area for cooling.


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