Abu Dhabi to begin household collection of cooking oil for new biofuel plant

Starting next year, oil from homes and restaurants will be sent to the city's new Waste to Energy plant

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Abu Dhabi's waste management centre will start recycling waste cooking oil from homes and restaurants to produce biofuels.

Abdul Mohsin Al Katheeri, acting director of projects and facilities at Tadweer, said the doorstep project is expected to start in Q1 2022.

Residents will be provided with secure containers to safely dispose of their used oil.

The used cooking oil is treated using fatty acid to produce biodiesel. Imagine turning the used cooking oil in your kitchen to biodiesel

A licensed recycling company will take these containers to Tadweer’s Waste to Energy Plant, which is currently under construction.

The processing unit is being set up with the help of Emirates Water and Electricity Company, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation.

“The used cooking oil is treated using fatty acid to produce biodiesel. Imagine turning the used cooking oil in your kitchen to biodiesel,” Mr Al Katheeri said.

The project’s investors will reach out to restaurants and hotels and ask them to recycle their waste cooking oil.

“And for people’s homes, we will have a collection centre with containers to dispose of the oil waste,” he said.

Tadweer has already been recycling used lubricant oil to base oil since 2010.

Tadweer Official-AD Abdul Mohsin Mubarak Al Katheeri, Acting Director of Projects and Facilities Department at ?Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre - Tadweer Head office in Abu Dhabi on May 24, 2021. Khushnum Bhandari / The National 
Reporter: Haneen Dajani News

“Base oil is used to produce different types of oils or lubricants for the industrial sectors,” Mr Al Katheeri said.

“A project to produce biofuels from waste, including sustainable aviation fuel, biodiesel and methanol is also in the pipeline.

“Converting waste to biofuel will not only benefit Tadweer in achieving its waste diversion goals but support the UAE aviation industry with the new international low carbon regulation.”

In 2016, governments around the world adopted the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (Corsia) to stabilise net carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation from 2021.

Corsia has applied to international aviation since January 2019 when all airlines were required to report their CO2 emissions on an annual basis. It requires airlines to halve their carbon emissions by 2050.

This Abu Dhabi recycling factory turns thousands of old tyres into fuel. Source: Tadweer

“Some international airlines like British Airlines have already started using low-carbon fuel,” he said.

Several airlines, such as Etihad, Air France, Air New Zealand and KLM, have tested flights using biofuels.

Recycled concrete was even used for the construction of the Mafraq-Ghuwaifat International Highway that links Abu Dhabi to the Saudi border.

By 2030, Tadweer plans to recycle 80 per cent of its solid municipal waste, such as food, and treat 100 per cent of its hazardous waste.

In Abu Dhabi, 2.5 million tonnes of garbage is generated every year, of which 25 to 30 per cent is food.

“We can turn all types of waste to energy,” Mr Al Katheeri said.

“Once the plant is in operation, we will be able to divert around 600,000 tonnes of waste per year.

“Most of the waste now goes to the landfill, which means you have a mountain of waste [piling up] that you can do nothing about,” he said.

“Another goal is to recycle 800,000 tonnes of waste per year in Abu Dhabi and 350,000 tonnes in Al Ain to refuse derived fuel.”

The ultimate goal, he said, is to maximise the recycling of waste and move away from using dumpsites.

Currently, there is one landfill in Al Ain that was built in 2008 for non-hazardous waste. It has the capacity to last 20 years.

Plans are in place to build three engineering landfills in Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafrah and Al Ain to receive waste for the next 25 years.

There are also six dumpsites in the Al Dhafrah region and one in Hamim, Abu Dhabi.

Tadweer’s landfills and dumpsites received around 4,254,662 tonnes of municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial non-hazardous waste last year.

It has recycling facilities for tyres, hazardous medical waste and construction waste.