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UAE: Bee’ah and Masdar launch waste-to-energy joint venture

Emirates Waste to Energy Company, a joint venture between Bee'ah and Masdar, has broken ground on its first project, a multi-fuel waste-to-energy facility in Sharjah

EWEC has broken ground on its first project, a multi-fuel waste-to-energy facility in Sharjah.
EWEC has broken ground on its first project, a multi-fuel waste-to-energy facility in Sharjah.

Sharjah-headquartered environmental management firm, Bee’ah, and Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company, Masdar, signed an agreement yesterday establishing a joint venture company (JVC).

The JVC, called the Emirates Waste to Energy Company (EWEC), will focus its resources on developing waste-to-energy plants across the region. Its first project is a multi-fuel waste-to-energy facility, which will be constructed within the site of Bee’ah’s existing Waste Management Centre in Sharjah.

The facility, which also broke ground yesterday, is reportedly the first of its kind in the Middle East and will treat, within its first phase, more than 300,000t of municipal solid waste (MSW) each year. 

In addition to recovering valuable materials for recycling, the new plant will incinerate up to 37.5t of solid waste per hour, generating 30MW of energy. 

The signing and ground-breaking ceremony also saw the awarding of the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract to CNIM, a French industrial engineering contractor and equipment manufacturer.

CNIM has also been appointed as the operator of the facility.

Thomas Feilenreiter, general manager for waste and energy management solutions at CNIM, told Construction Week that construction will start later in the year and that the facility is expected to be operational by 2020.

Bee'ah had set an ambitious target for Sharjah to achieve zero waste when the company was created back in 2007.

At present, the emirate diverts 70% of its waste away from landfill. Upon the completion of the new facility, Sharjah will become the first city in the Middle East to achieve the target of 100% diversion of waste from landfill.

The event also saw the signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) between Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) and EWEC. Under the terms of the agreement, EWEC will supply SEWA with power generated from its waste-to-energy plant.

Present at the event was HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, who commented: “The waste-to-energy joint venture in Sharjah represents an important step in our endeavour towards sustainability, as well as a bold and unconventional way to addressing development challenges in a sustainable way and to achieving the objectives of the National Agenda for the UAE Vision 2021. 

“Hence, this pioneering national project is particularly important in the realisation of two main objectives of our National Agenda: raising the percentage of treated waste to 75% and increasing the contribution of clean energy in the national energy mix to 27%.”

Meanwhile, Salim Al Owais, chairman of Bee’ah, said: “As we announce this state-of-the-art facility, it is no exaggeration to say that this is a historic day, not only for Bee’ah and Masdar, but for the whole of the UAE.

"Together with our strategic partner Masdar, we have set the ambitious goal of making the UAE a beacon for best environmental practices in the Middle East. 

“We also intend to set an example to the world for how a country that has traditionally been heavily reliant on fossil fuels can embrace change and become a leader in green technology through vision, determination, and hard work.”

Al Owais’s comments were echoed by Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar. He said: “Masdar firmly believes in industry collaboration as the most effective way of advancing the deployment of commercially viable technologies, while supporting the UAE’s goals for sustainable economic development. 

“Our partnership with Bee’ah was first announced during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016, and it gives me great pleasure today to see that bold statement of intent being translated into the formal launch of our joint venture, Emirates Waste to Energy Company.”
 
He added: “Our first project together is set to make a vital contribution towards the UAE’s ambitious targets to significantly reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill, as well as delivering clean energy to households across Sharjah. We hope it will be the first of many similar facilities, as the efficiency and effectiveness of sustainable waste management and waste-to-energy solutions gather pace.”

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