Construction completed on UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant

Sharjah Waste to Energy plant the first project of Emirates Waste to Energy, a joint venture between BEEAH Energy and Masdar

Construction has been completed on the UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant, with the project now entering the testing and commissioning phase, it has been announced.

The Sharjah Waste to Energy plant is the first project of Emirates Waste to Energy, a joint venture established by BEEAH Energy, the renewable energy business of BEEAH Group, and Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, a statement said.

Once tested, commissioned and operational, the plant will enable Sharjah to become the Middle East’s first zero-waste city, turning unrecyclable waste into clean energy and increasing the current landfill diversion rate from 76% to 100%. It will also help reduce waste sent to landfill across the UAE, while contributing to the nation’s clean energy resources.

Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH Group, said: “Completion of construction is an important milestone for our Emirates Waste to Energy venture, as we continue to pioneer clean energy innovations in the UAE. We look forward to a successful testing and commissioning phase followed by achieving full operations, which will make Sharjah the Middle East’s first zero-waste city. This will also be a landmark moment as we work towards a zero-waste, clean-energy future for the nation, the region and beyond.”

At full operational capacity, the plant will help divert up to 300,000 tonnes of unrecyclable waste away from landfill each year while producing 30 megawatts (MW) of low-carbon electricity, enough to power 28,000 homes in Sharjah.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Masdar CEO, said: “Masdar is proud to be partnering with BEEAH, leveraging our more than a decade and a half of experience in the clean energy sector to help pioneer the UAE’s first waste-to-energy power plant. With the construction phase of the project now complete, we look forward to harnessing our knowledge in the growing waste-to-energy space to help tackle the global climate challenge through sustainable waste management enabled by clean energy solutions.”

Constructed by France-based industrial contractor CNIM, the plant covers an 80,000 sqm area and follows EU Best Available Techniques to align with the strictest environmental standards globally. Within the plant, unrecyclable waste is fed into a boiler to produce high-pressure steam, which turns electric turbine generators. Toxins and pollutants are filtered from the flue gas produced during the process. Bottom ash is collected to recover metals and ash material for use in construction and roadwork applications, while fly ash is collected and treated separately.

Adjacent to the waste-to-energy plant is an award-winning waste-management complex operated by BEEAH Recycling, BEEAH Group’s recycling and material recovery business, which has already helped achieve a 76% landfill waste diversion rate in the emirate of Sharjah. Unrecyclable waste from the complex will be transported to the waste-to-energy plant.

“From conception to completion of construction, the Sharjah Waste-to-Energy plant has demonstrated sustainability and innovation by design. Going into the testing and commissioning phase, our goal is to ensure that these fundamentals continue to be upheld,” Al Huraimel said.

Speaking about the impact the plant will have on clean energy in the region, the BEEAH Group CEO added: “We are confident that with a successful testing and commissioning period, and once the plant is fully operational, we will also demonstrate how waste-to-energy is an essential innovation to sustaining the circular economy, tackling the challenge of unrecyclable waste, and serving as a more affordable, low-carbon alternative to traditional fossil fuels.”

In addition to diverting 300,000 tonnes of waste away from landfill, the 30 MW plant will displace almost 450,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year and preserve the equivalent of 45 million m3 of natural gas.

The Masdar CEO said: “Through the Emirates Waste to Energy company, Masdar and BEEAH are pioneering a new clean energy innovation for the UAE. With construction complete on our first plant, we will soon demonstrate the efficacy of this innovation and work towards replicating its success in more areas of the UAE and beyond.”

BEEAH and Masdar have begun exploring opportunities for the Emirates Waste to Energy company to open similar plants across the UAE and the wider region.

“We are aligned with the national and regional sustainability agendas, as well as the UNSDGs, across our businesses, ventures and partnerships. Our goal is to realise a zero-waste, clean energy future, starting with the UAE, where we are driven by the Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative. We believe more such waste-to-energy innovations will be critical in achieving this vision and pioneering a sustainable quality of life for all,” the BEEAH Group CEO said.

Emirates Waste to Energy, BEEAH and Masdar are planning a ceremony to formally open the Sharjah Waste to Energy plant in the near future.

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