UAE Circular Economy Council Inaugurates Lootah Biofuels Factory During Third Meeting of 2022

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Ministry of Climate Change and Environment signs agreement with Union Cement to partially use alternative fuel produced by Emirates RDF plant

Dubai-UAE: During its third meeting of 2022, chaired by Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the UAE Circular Economy Council inaugurated the Lootah Biofuels plant in Dubai Industrial City.

The inauguration and meeting drew the participation of His Excellency Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, CEO of Alliances for Global Sustainability, His Excellency Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Eng Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, His Excellency Abdulrahman Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, His Excellency Eng Essa Al Hashmi, Assistant Undersecretary for Sustainable Communities Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), His Excellency Eng Yousif Al Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Water and Future Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, His Excellency Khaled Al Huraimel, CEO of BEE’AH, Her Excellency Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF, and Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Holding. Guests from the government and private sectors from across the UAE also attended the event.

Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri said: “The transition to a circular economy contributes to driving sustainable economic development in line with the UAE’s vision, which ensures continued growth while protecting the environment and preserving natural resources, in addition to supporting the efforts to reduce emissions and to achieve net zero.”

She added: “Innovative solutions play a key role in accelerating the shift. The Lootah Biofuels plant represents a remarkable model of practical application of circularity principles, and a prime example of active participation of the private sector in achieving the UAE’s goal of developing a circular economy.”

For his part, His Excellency Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri said: “Promoting the enablers of the circular economy transition in the UAE through close cooperation between the public and private sectors is one of the main tracks led by the UAE Circular Economy Council, which is based on a real partnership with the country’s private sector aimed at exploring opportunities, proposing solutions, and developing the necessary policies to consolidate the UAE’s position as a leading global example of leveraging the circular economy as one of the engines of sustainable economic growth during the next stage.”

He added that the Lootah Biofuels factory serves as an innovative model of converting cooking oil into biofuel for use in energy production and enhances endeavors to shift towards more sustainable energy and create new economic opportunities that advance the country’s transition to a more flexible and diversified economic model based on knowledge and innovation, and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi stressed that continued efforts to implement the UAE Circular Economy Policy 2021-2031 will consolidate the country’s position as a global economic hub and a preferred destination for foreign investors looking for rewarding prospects in existing future economy sectors that are based on knowledge and innovation and take into account sustainability and conservation of natural resources.

He added that the programs and projects executed under the umbrella of the UAE Circular Economy Policy strengthen the country’s investment environment and create new opportunities related to the circular economy. They expand the infrastructure of this promising sector, and provide incentives to the private sector to shift to clean industrial production methods using artificial intelligence (AI) and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions in a manner that consolidates the UAE’s position among emerging circular economies regionally and globally. He also highlighted the importance of the launch of the Lootah Biofuels plant in Dubai Industrial City as a result of cooperation between the public and private sectors for achieving national goals.

His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama noted that the UAE government, led by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has embraced the concepts of sustainability and proactive thinking to boost readiness for the future by diversifying economic models into general, digital, and circular, which is essential to achieve sustainable growth and accelerate progress towards the future.

He added: “Adopting a new economic model in the country will create new exceptional opportunities by stimulating innovation, increasing competitiveness, and driving growth, which enhances quality of life for the current and future generations.”

Startups

The meeting’s agenda included many important topics related to following up on the implementation of circular economy methods in all sectors and the latest developments on previous decisions of the Council.

MOCCAE delivered a presentation on startups with high ambitions in the field of circular economy that can be involved in the Dubai Future Accelerators program. Among the featured companies was Solein that has developed a unique protein using air and electricity as raw materials. Disconnecting food production from agriculture, the manufacturing process consumes 1,000 times less water than is required to produce protein from livestock and 100 times less than producing vegetable protein. Meanwhile, Evo & Co seeks to reduce the use of plastics by replacing them with new materials derived from nature, such as seaweed, rice straw, and sugarcane bagasse, and Mimica produces low-cost temperature-sensitive indicators of food freshness in the form of dynamic expiry labels that help prevent food waste.

Yousif Saeed Lootah, Chairman of Lootah Biofuels, expressed his appreciation to the wise UAE leadership for the great attention it pays to promoting the transition to a circular economy, which constitutes an important part of sustainable development.

He said: “The circular economy drives the adoption of efficient and responsible production and consumption patterns, and provides ample opportunities for growth and prosperity for companies that uphold sustainable values ​​and practices, such as Lootah Biofuels.”

He added that the government’s support for leading projects motivates and empowers young people to achieve their aspirations and contribute to the national agenda in innovative ways. He also highlighted the company’s keenness to participate in building youth capacities by providing training opportunities.

Biofuels

Leveraging agreements with public and private sector entities in the food and hospitality sectors, the Lootah Biofuels factory collects used cooking oil, treats it, and converts it into biodiesel using the latest international technologies at a competitive price compared to regular diesel.

The launch of the new plant and the consequent increase in biodiesel production capacity by 100 tons per day will help the UAE achieve its goal of obtaining five percent of transportation fuel from food waste and non-renewable resources. This project is a model of efficient integrated waste management and will contribute to fast-tracking the nationwide transition to a circular economy.

Local and Global Efforts

Following a presentation on the progress of current circular economy projects and emerging project data in the UAE, Anis Nassar of the World Economic Forum (WEF) briefed the Council members on the latest developments in the Scale360° initiative, which brings together global partners to scale up the use of 4IR technologies with the aim of accelerating the adoption of circular economy principles.

The meeting included an overview of BEE’AH’s efforts to implement the circular economy model in its operations, and its re.life market, an advanced digital business-to-business platform for buying and selling of recovered commodities through a simple and transparent process that contributes to shaping the future of the recyclables trade in the UAE.

Memorandum of Understanding

During the meeting, MOCCAE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Union Cement to partially use alternative fuels produced by the Emirates RDF municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment plant in Umm Al Quwain. The move is part of the Ministry’s efforts to boost the participation of the private sector in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, implementing circular economy principles, and developing an integrated waste management system.

UAE Circular Economy Policy

Approved in January 2021, the UAE Circular Economy Policy identifies the optimal approach to the country’s transition to a circular economy. Its objectives include building a sustainable economy, promoting efficient use of natural resources, encouraging the private sector to shift to cleaner industrial production methods that involve the use of AI and other 4IR technologies, and adopting sustainable consumption and production patterns that reduce environmental stress while meeting the basic needs of the population.

The UAE Circular Economy Council comprises 17 representatives of relevant federal and local government entities, private sector companies, and international organizations.