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The Saudi Crown Prince plans to construct an emissions-free industrial hub that will float on the water

Last Updated on 08th January 2024

As part of his Neom mega-project, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince aims to develop a carbon-free industrial city "floating" on the Red Sea. Neom did not disclose the cost of the city or how the structure would be designed to float.


According to the corporation behind Neom, the project, called "Oxagon," will include a port and a logistical hub. According to the Saudi Press Agency, it would be a "comprehensive cognitive city" centered on robots and artificial intelligence.


Neom is the crown jewel in Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to transform the economy of the world's greatest oil exporter, which was announced in 2017.


His proposal to transform a desolate region on the kingdom's northwest Red Sea coast into a robot-driven innovation powerhouse encompasses the primary aspects of his "Vision 2030" strategy to diversify away from petroleum, reduce social restrictions, and increase investment.


However, the concept has sparked debate, with some questioning its viability after earlier attempts to establish economic and financial free zones failed. Violence and arrests erupted during a relocation process for local inhabitants.


It was originally portrayed as a $500 billion investment when Prince Mohammed unveiled Neom. Oracle Corp., Air Products, and Huawei Digital Power are among the foreign companies that have struck agreements.


Neom announced plans in January to develop a 170-kilometer (105-mile) car-free linear metropolis called "The Line" as its centerpiece, but the project's intricacy means it could take years to get off the ground.


The industrial city is the next to be announced after The Line, and is one of several other zones planned in different sections of Neom.


It will be built in the southwest portion of Neom's territory and will feature a previously announced $5 billion green hydrogen plant, which is now under construction as a joint venture between Acwa Power, Air Products, and Neom.


"Through OXAGON, there will be a fundamental shift in how the world views manufacturing centers," stated Neom CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr. What motivates us is seeing the eagerness with which a number of our partners have expressed a desire to begin their initiatives in OXAGON.


"These changemakers will build factories using the most cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies, ushering in a significant leap into the Fourth Industrial Revolution for this era." Oxagon, like The Line, will be a holistic cognitive city with excellent livability for its citizens.


According to a news release from Neom, planners want the city to run entirely on renewable energy and focus on seven industries: sustainable energy, autonomous mobility, water innovation, sustainable food production, health and wellbeing, technology and digital manufacturing, and "modern methods of construction."


Per a press release, Oxagon will welcome its first manufacturing tenants in early 2022.


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