UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant ready in Sharjah

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Once operational, the plant will enable Sharjah to become the Middle East’s first zero-waste city.

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

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.

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 percent to 100 percent. It will also help reduce waste sent to landfill across the UAE, while contributing to the nation’s clean energy resources.

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.

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.”

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 project’s construction phase 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, turning 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 percent landfill waste diversion rate in the emirate of Sharjah. Unrecyclable waste from the complex will be transported to the waste-to-energy plant.

Speaking about the impact the plant will have on clean energy in the region, Al Huraimel said, “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.”

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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.

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 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (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 soon.