Sharjah has opened the region’s first waste-to-energy plant, which will enable the UAE Emirate to increase waste diversion from 76 per cent to 100 per cent, making it the Middle East’s first zero-waste city.
Set up by the Emirates Waste to Energy company, a joint venture between Beeah and Masdar, the project was inaugurated in May by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
The project will displace nearly 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, advancing the UAE’s strategic initiative to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The combusted waste will produce 30 megawatts (MW) of low-carbon electricity, enough to power 28,000 homes in Sharjah, and save 45 million cu m of natural gas per year.
The plant works by processing unrecyclable waste at high temperatures and the resulting heat is recovered by a boiler. The boiler then produces steam, which drives a turbine to produce electricity. Bottom ash produced during the process is collected for recovery of metals and ash material, which can be used in construction and roadwork applications. Fly ash is also collected and treated separately.
It covers an 80,000 sq m area and is adjacent to the integrated waste management complex operated by Beeah Recycling, Beeah Group’s recycling and material recovery business. Unrecyclable waste from the waste management complex will be taken for processing at the Sharjah Waste to Energy plant.
Both Masdar and Beeah have highlighted the growing importance of waste-to-energy in addressing challenges in the waste management and clean energy industries. The UAE views progressive climate action and innovative climate solutions as significant opportunities for economic growth.
The UAE was the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris agreement and the first to commit to an economy-wide reduction in emissions. Last year the UAE was the first country in the Mena region to declare a net zero by 2050 strategic initiative- a vehicle for economic growth, job creation and industrial expansion that is closely aligned to the UAE’s long term development goals.