Waste not, want not
We speak with clean energy pioneers Masdar and Bee’ah about why waste-to-energy is a good fit for the GCC’s future energy needs NEIL KING
I t’s no secret that the region’s energy sector is in the midst of a major transformation.
The oil price drop of 2014 has left a lasting legacy, with diversification plans across the GCC reshaping not just energy industries, but entire economies, societies, and business landscapes.
Yet it is the energy industry that has perhaps felt the tremors of these seismic changes in the most profound way, as governments try to break what Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman describes as an “addiction to oil”.
As a result, a wider range of energy sources than ever before have come to prominence, with solar, wind, hydro and other types of energy emerging across the region. One of the most promising avenues is waste-to-energy (WTE) – a process that not only generates significant levels of energy, but also tackles a major problem for the region.
“Across the GCC, governments are actively pursuing strategies to achieve zero waste,” says Khaled Al Huraimel, group CEO of Sharjah-based environmental and waste management company Bee’ah.
“Average levels of waste per capita per day in the region stand at 1.65kg, and with the rapid urbanisation of the Middle East, waste production in the region is only expected to increase.
“Waste-to-energy projects will enable us to tackle this insurmountable problem of waste, in addition to meeting our energy needs and creating value out of discarded materials. The rise of several new waste-to-energy projects in the region exhibits the responsiveness of the GCC market to waste-to-energy initiatives.”
One of these projects was confirmed earlier this year when Bee’ah formalised a partnership with clean and renewable energy player Masdar to create the Emirates Waste to Energy Company (EWEC) and build a WTE facility that will incinerate up to 37.5 tonnes of solid waste per hour – adding an extra 39MW of green energy to the Sharjah electricity grid and providing power to thousands of homes.
Khaled Al Huraimel, group CEO of Bee’ah