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Abu Dhabi to establish first Waste-to-Sustainable Aviation Fuel plant in Middle East

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Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre (Tadweer) signed a Joint Project Development Agreement (JPDA) with Etihad Airways to facilitate the development of the first Waste-to-Sustainable Aviation Fuel (WtF) plant in the Middle East Region on the occasion of Dubai Air Show 2021.

Upon completion, the plant will have the potential to transform up to 4 million tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) every year into Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), according to a press release issued on Monday.

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According to Emirates News Agency (WAM), the SAF produced from the WtF plant in Abu Dhabi would be compliant to International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) standards for decarbonization of the aviation sector. The plant will help Abu Dhabi to divert 75 percent of municipal waste away from landfills.

This plant will significantly contribute to the UAE’s actions on Climate Change. The UAE is the host of 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28).

The Waste-to-SAF plant is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by about 1 million tonnes annually – equivalent to the removal of more than 200,000 cars from the road.

Dr. Salem Al Kaabi, Director General of Tadweer, said, “This agreement is aligned with Tadweer’s continued efforts to divert waste from landfills and harness technological innovations that are commercially viable to address the challenges posed by the treatment of large volume of waste. In working closely with our partners, Tadweer is proud to steer Abu Dhabi’s sustainability agenda through the implementation of an integrated, world-class waste management system that ensures a cleaner and more sustainable environment for present and future generations.”

“This collaboration between Tadweer and Etihad Airways reinforces Abu Dhabi’s, and the broader UAE’s, commitment to net-zero targets that puts UAE on a credible path to zero out emissions by mid-century. We look forward to capitalising on further opportunities that utilise the most efficient waste-management technologies and drive our nation’s clean development ambitions,” Dr. Salem added.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “To truly make sustainability a reality in aviation we need to look at the biggest contributing factor, fuel, where sustainable aviation fuel is required to meet the net zero target. Through this agreement, four million tonnes of waste will be converted into 140 million gallons of SAF, representing a significant portion of our annual fuel requirement. Today’s collaboration between Tadweer and Etihad Airways is just the first step towards a much broader engagement within Abu Dhabi to create a hub for producing SAF and synfuels.”

Abu Dhabi’s waste to SAF facility will make the Emirate of Abu Dhabi the leader in the Middle East region to process municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial waste, to produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel and be on the world map of SAF producers meeting the highest specifications and standards adopted globally.

The proposed WtF plant would be developed through joint procurement by Tadweer and Etihad Airways. Etihad airways would be entering into a long-term SAF offtake agreement and Tadweer as the provider of feedstock waste under a long-term waste supply agreement. Private sector participants would be invited to submit proposals to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the facilities, which will use advanced commercially proven technology to convert municipal solid waste into Sustainable Aviation Fuel, said the press release.

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