Sharjah’s Beeah Group set to enter two new sectors in diversification push

The environmental management company is expanding its operations in Saudi Arabia and Egypt

Firas Wahbeh, chief marketing officer of Beeah Group, at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week event. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Sharjah-based environmental management company Beeah Group will enter two new sectors as part of the company’s diversification plans, a senior executive has said.

The company will go into “two new verticals” and an announcement will be made “soon”, chief marketing officer Firas Wahbeh said in an interview with The National on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Beeah Group, which has operations spanning waste collection, procession and recycling, also has units focused on environment consulting, future technology and digital ventures.

The company will continue to expand in its current markets as part of its short-term strategy, Mr Wahbeh said.

“We are talking to several entities within Saudi Arabia to potentially expand into other areas beyond our contracting [agreement] in Madinah,” he said.

“Even within Madinah, we are looking at expanding the scope of our services. They are taking some of our recycling expertise and transplanting it there, as well as our waste to energy.”

Beeah has a contract to serve Egypt’s new administrative capital, which is being developed outside of Cairo and is expected to house 6.5 million people.

“[It] is a growing master plan in very infant stages and our contract will grow with it,” said Mr Wahbeh.

“That contract includes waste management, recycling as well as energy, [so] there is a wide scope there.”

Last September, the Beeah Group and Egypt's Green Planet entered a contract to provide city-cleaning services to Sharm El Sheikh, where the Cop27 was held.

Thousands of policymakers and diplomats gathered in the Red Sea resort town in November for the UN climate summit.

Beeah, along with Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and French utility Veolia, is operating the region’s first waste-to-energy plant.

The project, which can process up to 300,000 tonnes of waste every year from landfill, will enable Sharjah to increase its landfill diversion rate to 100 per cent, from the current 76 per cent.

“Now that we have this case study, everyone is approaching us to potentially help them do the same elsewhere,” Mr Wahbeh said.

“[Waste to energy] solves the waste problem [and] the energy that comes out of it goes into the grids, so we have power-purchase agreements with the Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority,” he said.

In 2021, Beeah announced the region’s first waste-to-hydrogen project with UK-based Chinook Sciences.

It will include a plant and a fuel station for vehicles that run on hydrogen.

“[The project] will produce more hydrogen than we need, so we are looking at offtake agreements and we already have some of that in the works,” Mr Wahbeh said.

“We want to … take it as a successful model and apply it in other places, so it is both an investment opportunity and a business opportunity for us.”

The UAE is bullish on hydrogen and has been drawing up a comprehensive road map to position itself as an exporter of the clean fuel and tap into its future potential.

Hydrogen, which can be produced using renewable energy and natural gas, is expected to play a key role in the coming years as economies and industries transition to a low-carbon world to mitigate climate change.

French investment bank Natixis estimates that investment in hydrogen will exceed $300 billion by 2030.

Updated: January 17, 2023, 4:35 PM