Artist's impression of waste to energy plant

World’s largest waste-to-energy plant to launch in Dubai

Image credit: Dubai Media Office/HZI

The largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is due to begin construction of the largest single waste-to-energy plant yet, which could power 120,000 homes.

The Dh2.5bn (£480m) plant will be built on two hectares of land in the Warsan area, a predominantly industrial neighbourhood which is already home to the Dubai Sewage and Treatment Plant and Al Aweer Power Station.

Construction will begin later in 2018. The plant is due to go online before Expo 2020, a major upcoming world fair which will be hosted on a site between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The plant will consume more than 60 per cent of the city’s solid, industrial and commercial waste (at least 5,000 tonnes of its total daily 8,000 tonnes), which, when converted, will be enough to generate 185MW daily. This could power 120,000 homes, the equivalent of 2,000 Burj Khalifa skyscrapers, or 2 per cent of Dubai’s total annual energy consumption.

Gases produced by the waste will be burned in order to turn a steam turbine to generate electricity. Incombustible material will be left as recyclable ash, from which useful metals can be extracted for reuse. The gas will be treated with lime and filtered to minimise the release of pollutants during processing.

Due to the higher-than-average amount of waste per person generated in Dubai, the city’s leaders are aiming to recycle 100 per cent of its municipal waste by 2030, a major increase from the 20 per cent recycled today.

The project was announced by Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, at a press conference this week. The plant will be the world’s largest waste-to-energy project operating at a single site, Dubai officials stated.

“[It] will give a lot of support to maintain and achieve sustainability in Dubai,” Lootah said.

He said that the project will be in cooperation with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, which will be the offtaker of the project, and the plant will be connected to the authority’s grid via high-voltage cables. Lootah has also signed an agreement with Hitachi Zosen Inova and BESIX group, which will build and operate the plant.

Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy aims to provide 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean sources by 2050. It also aims to make the city a centre of clean energy, with a strong “green economy”. The construction of the plant also fits loosely into Dubai Plan 2021, a strategy to establish the city’s position as a smart, sustainable and international centre for a range of industries.

A waste-to-energy plant in Shenzhen, China, has been on track to be the world’s largest single plant of its type. While they are both capable of processing similar volumes of waste daily, the output of Dubai’s plant is due to be a daily 20MW higher.

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