Inside the UAE factory turning household waste into fuel

Inside the UAE factory turning household waste into fuel

Everyday household rubbish is being saved from landfill and turned into fuel to help power cement factories in the UAE.

Throwaway items such as plastic, paper and food scraps are being collected from households across Ajman and Umm Al Quwain to produce refuse-derived fuel (RDF) – a combustible fuel made of various types of waste.

For every 1,000 tonnes of items collected daily from homes in both emirates, about 80 per cent will be converted into alternative energy at the Emirates RDF plant in Umm Al Quwain.

Using this as an alternative energy source has an overall benefit on fuel costs, not to mention the environmental benefits

Nicolas de Koning, Emirates RDF

From UAE’s household rubbish to fuel [The National]


1,000 tonnes of waste collected daily:

  • 800 tonnes converted into alternative fuel
  • 150 tonnes to landfill
  • 50 tonnes sold as scrap metal

800 tonnes of RDF replaces 500 tonnes of coal

Two conveyor lines treat more than 350,000 tonnes of waste per year

25 staff on site

The large-scale plant, which should be fully operational later this month and cost $40 million (Dh146m) to build, will convert the waste of more than 550,000 residents in the UAE.

The facility was built as part of a joint venture with the Ministry of Climate Change and Energy and Ajman Municipality to improve the UAE’s waste management and it is the first of its kind in the Arabian Gulf.

It contributes to the UAE’s strategic objective of landfill diversion of least 75 per cent by 2021.