Acwa Power signs deal with Neutral Fuel to supply biofuel for Saudi Arabia's Red Sea project

Dubai-based company will provide the green fuel it developed to power the site’s entire transportation network

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Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power signed an agreement with Dubai-based Neutral Fuels to supply net-zero biofuel – a clean form of fuel that lowers emissions – to power the kingdom’s tourism project on the Red Sea coast.

The biofuel produced by Neutral Fuels will power the site’s entire transportation network and will contribute to the tourism project's efforts to be sustainable, the two companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Net zero biofuel is a very easy and clean plug-in replacement for the fossil fuels that are causing so much trouble to the environment," Karl Feilder, chief executive of Neutral Fuels, said. "Any transportation fleet can make the switch overnight. I hope The Red Sea project proves to be an inspiration for other companies to follow suit."

The Red Sea Project is expected to prevent an estimated 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually by using renewable energy, the statement said. Upon completion, it will be the first project in the world to be entirely powered by sustainable energy sources, the companies added.

The Acwa Power-led consortium is constructing the sustainable infrastructure at the Red Sea project, which is being developed by The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC).

The collaboration with Neutral Fuels is “enabling us to accelerate our commitment to support the kingdom’s ambitions to deliver a tourist destination that limits the environmental impact through the provision of zero-carbon emitting utility services”, Paddy Padmanathan, president and chief executive of Acwa Power, said.

TRSDC, which is owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, is developing 16 hotels with 3,000 rooms across five islands and two inland sites as part of the first phase of the project on Saudi Arabia’s west coast. The project is expected to welcome its first guests by the end of 2022, when the international airport and first hotels are due to open.

Acwa Power operates in 13 countries in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. It has a portfolio of 64 assets with a total investment of $68bn, producing 43.8 gigawatts of power and 5.8 million cubic metres per day of desalinated water.

Neutral Fuels, which claims to be the largest producer of biofuel in the Gulf, is based in Dubai. The company is also rapidly extending its operations to other parts of the world, tapping into the demand for sustainable fuels.

“The scale of the project is impressive but the real news here is the massive scale of the commitment that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is making to renewable energy,” Mr Feilder said.

“They’re not just minimising harm, they are actively reducing their dependence on fossil fuel and enhancing the environment as they contribute to sustaining and regenerating it for years to come.”

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is pursuing an ambitious renewable power strategy and plans to add 60 gigawatts of clean energy capacity to the national grid by 2030.