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BEEAH, Masdar & SEWA Announce Development of Region’s First Landfill to Solar Project at COP28

Dubai, UAE (December 07, 2023): BEEAH, the Middle East’s sustainability pioneer, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company – Masdar, and SEWA, the Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority, have announced their partnership to develop the MENA region’s first landfill to solar project.

Announced at the UAE Pavilion at COP28 by His Excellency Abdullah Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi, Director-General of SEWA, Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH and Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, in the presence of senior delegates from government entities and other esteemed dignitaries, the pioneering project will transform a capped landfill into a solar farm to drive the advancement of goals in circularity and sustainability, while generating renewable energy.

With Sharjah achieving the Middle East’s highest waste diversion rate of 90% through BEEAH’s fully integrated waste management strategies and the Sharjah Waste to Energy Facility, the UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant, the emirate is now on track to becoming the first zero waste city in the Middle East. On reaching this target for total waste diversion, the Al Saj’ah landfill in the Emirate will become redundant. The landfill will then undergo final closure and be capped according to international regulations, environmental laws, geotechnical safety standards, and rehabilitation procedures. The coalition consisting of BEEAH, Masdar and SEWA will transform the landfill site into a solar farm, generating sustainable clean energy, optimizing land usage, and providing an economically and environmentally beneficial solution to the challenge of closed landfills.

His Excellency Abdullah Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi, Director-General of the Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority, commented H.E. Abdullah Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi, Director General of the Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority (SEWA), said: “We are extremely delighted today with the announcement of the pioneering project aimed at converting the Al Saja’a landfill into a solar power farm, in collaboration with BEEAH Group and Masdar.”

Al Shamsi emphasized that the announcement aligns with SEWA’s vision for diversifying energy sources and generating clean and renewable energy.

“This approach is in line with the overarching vision of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to safeguard our natural resources for future generations. The emirate of Sharjah is progressing in the right direction under the directives and visionary leadership, paving the way for a promising future for its people. This concerted effort aims to attain environmental objectives and ensure the establishment of sustainable energy sources.”, he said.

Sharing his thoughts on the landmark venture, Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH, said “Combining our vision for sustainability with our leadership in green technologies, we are pioneering innovations in clean energy and pushing the boundaries for higher quality of life. Through integrated waste collection & management, recycling, material recovery, and waste-to-energy solutions, we have achieved the Middle East’s highest diversion rate in Sharjah and will soon achieve 100% waste diversion in the emirate: leading to the closure of landfill sites. This landfill to solar project represents an ideal solution for the repurposing of capped landfills and closes the loop for waste management, while expanding the UAE’s renewable energy capabilities though new solar infrastructure. Apart from augmenting decarbonization in waste management, this game-changing solution also has the potential to accelerate the clean energy transition, and support goals in climate action and sustainability. Through our partnership with Masdar and SEWA, we are pleased to foster the power of collaborations, innovation, and leadership to advance the UAE’s goals for a clean energy, net-zero future.”

With an innovative, first-of-its-kind approach to the repurposing of empty landfills, the landfill to solar project will transform over 68 hectares of land into solar farms, with a total energy production capacity of 120 MW. Solar photovoltaic panels will be installed on top of the Al Saj’ah landfill, which is located in close proximity to BEEAH Group’s state-of-the-art Waste Management Complex.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar said: “Masdar is dedicated to finding innovative renewable energy solutions. By optimizing and repurposing land that would otherwise have remained out of use, and working with our partners BEEAH and SEWA, this project is advancing the energy transition and supporting Sharjah’s zero waste ambitions, for a cleaner, greener future.”

Due to stringent environmental monitoring and remediation requirements, closed landfills often face redevelopment issues worldwide. By reclaiming the site for solar farms, the landfill to solar project is ensuring a closed-loop economy, while reintroducing socio-ecological life into the area and enhancing its landscape potential through a vegetative cover. The area will be landscaped using native and indigenous plants that add greenery and increase the aesthetic and sustainable value of the project. The venture will also introduce an innovation and learning centre, within proximity of the new solar farm, to educate visitors on the features, benefits, and importance of the project.

At the ongoing COP28, more than 100 countries have pledged to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030, aiming to cut the share of fossil fuels in the world’s energy production. As a proponent for the pledge, the UAE has led efforts to decarbonize the energy sector. By 2031, the UAE aims to have clean energy sources account for 30% of its total energy mix, tripling its renewable energy capacity to 14 GW by the end of the decade. With pioneering clean energy solutions, BEEAH Group has supported the UAE’s transition to alternative energy sources. Earlier this week at COP28, BEEAH had announced its partnership with Chinook Hydrogen and Air Water Gas Solutions to develop the world’s first commercial-scale super green hydrogen plant. Building on the success of a newly inaugurated demonstration plant in the UK, the proposed facility will produce green hydrogen from solid waste, in a carbon-negative process with one of the world’s lowest production costs.

Last year, the Emirates Waste to Energy Company, another BEEAH-Masdar joint venture, had inaugurated the Sharjah Waste to Energy Facility, the first waste-to-energy plant in the UAE. This plant processes 300,000 tonnes of waste yearly, produces 30 MW of clean energy, displaces 450,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, and powers up to 28,000 homes in Sharjah.