Dubai: There is renewable energy. Then there’s the possibility of clean energy.
There is also a lot that businesses can do with used/recycled resources in terms of meeting their needs. Or their customers.
A growing number of Emirati businesses are supporting the great cause of sustainable development – all of which will ultimately meet the goal the country has set for itself to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Aldar and FAB, a major Abu Dhabi bank, have set sustainability goals and mapped out a pathway to achieve them. More UAE businesses and organizations are expected to do the same before the COP28 summit kicks off in the UAE at the end of the year.
Some people already start the process and make good use of reprocessing or recycling. For Shiva Vig, it’s making a statement through biofuels. The CEO of BIOD Technology runs a plant in Jebel Ali that processes waste oil into biodiesel. The investment in the facility is US$ 20 million.
The reason for such a large investment is clear, Vig said. “In the past, and even now, I say, used cooking oil (waste oil) was exported to the West where it was converted into biodiesel,” Vig said. “Thereby adding no value or jobs to the UAE.
“Our aim is to add greater value to waste in the UAE. BIOD currently converts 2,000-2,200 tonnes of used cooking oil per month and employs 100 people directly and indirectly.
BIOD uses in-house technology to process various waste oils into biodiesel, which is then blended with fossil diesel at a ratio of 7% to 10%. This is available for all diesel engines. Why is biodiesel important? Because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent compared to fossil diesel, Vig added.
Bringing the Biodiesel Concept Overseas
The concept is booming, and Lootah Biofuels recently signed an agreement with Maldives’ Fenaka Corp. to build the country’s first biofuel production plant. And use waste cooking oil.
At the time of the deal, Yousuf Saeed Lootah, CEO of Lootah Biofuels, said in a statement: “This is an important step in our strategy to grow and expand our business globally, in line with the UAE’s aim to lead global action to combat climate change.”
Sustainability topics are indeed gaining traction.
“Masdar has been a leader in renewable/clean energy,” said an energy industry analyst. “The UAE has made progress and invested heavily to prepare for the whole blue/green hydrogen movement epidemic.
“At the same time, there are niche entities such as the (Sharjah-based) Beeah Group that want to generate energy from landfills and the like.
“The waste-to-energy category could very well be the next big thing.”
Clearly, there are indeed considerable advantages to making good use of waste. In particular it will have a favorable effect on the environment as a whole.
UAE businesses are also starting to take recycling prospects seriously. One of them is re.life market, an online B2B marketplace for buying and selling recycled goods. In 2022, more than 150,000 tons of recycled materials will be traded on the platform, with transaction revenue exceeding AED 100 million.
There are other businesses that find value in recycling. Cutlow positions itself as a “reverse logistics platform” and assimilates products to “give them a second life wherever possible.” Extending the useful life of such products can go some way towards reducing their potential environmental impact through premature disposal to landfills.
These products will be sold through Cartflow’s “re-commerce platform” after being fully refurbished.
The UAE’s renewable, clean, recycled spaces and businesses within them will have easier access to new investment, private equity industry sources say. Their moment of sunshine has come, the source added.
“Any business that can prove that they have something new that can reduce the burden on the environment will be seriously watched,” said the head of an alternative investment firm. “Five or 10 years ago, agtech startups might not have been popular with investors in the region. They deserve attention.They are now at the center of all investment priority discussions as food security raises their profile.
“The same goes for businesses that make good use of their waste and repurpose it. The ‘circular economy’ needs that.”
Making good use of waste can be a good business.