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Swiss technology goes big: Largest energy from waste plant in Dubai

Dubai’s aim is to become the world’s most sustainable metropolis by 2021. To put these plans into action, the Emirates will get support from Switzerland. Zurich-based clean tech company Hitachi Zosen Inova is making a substantial contribution to the professional solution to Dubai’s Waste Management needs by joining forces with Belgian consortium partner BESIX to build the world’s largest and most efficient energy from waste plant.

The world’s largest EfW installation will be built in Dubai
The world’s largest EfW installation will be built in Dubai

As a result of Dubai’s sustainability strategy, the number of landfill sites will eventually be slashed by 75%, carbon emissions reduced by 16%, and at least 7% of its energy requirements will be covered from clean resources. In recent years, the Dubai government has implemented various “Green Initiatives” to make this vision a reality. An important step in the transformation is constructing and operating an energy from waste (EfW) plant to treat approx. 5,000 of the 8,000 metric tons of waste the city produces each day.

Superlative technology made in Europe

The world’s biggest EfW installation is to be built by 2020 in the Al Warsan district, around 10 kilometers outside the city center. Based on its sheer size and the unique overall energy efficiency of up to 33%, Dubai’s future waste incineration plant will rank at the very top by international standards.

The contract to develop, build, and operate this major plant has been awarded to the consortium consisting of Swiss technology company Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) and Belgian construction firm BESIX. For HZI, with its ca. 600 employees and over 80 years of experience in the EfW sector, this first project in Middle East, with a huge export volume, marks an important milestone for the company’s history. Within the partnership, HZI will supply the technology for all the process components, while BESIX will provide the construction itself. At full capacity, the plant’s five combustion lines will process 5,000 metric tons a day, or 1.8 million tons a year of non-recyclable municipal solid waste and commercial waste generating an average 180 MW of electrical energy enough to cover around 2% of Dubai’s power demand.

Proven technology putting sustainability into practice

The entire incineration technology is designed to allow the straightforward processing of what are often very heterogeneous waste flows. High temperatures in the combustion chamber of over 1,000° C will guarantee effective incineration and enable the first step of an extremely effective flue gas treatment process. The highly efficient incineration process will minimize CO, NOx, and VOC emissions. The steam produced by the heat in the boiler will be directed onto a turbine to generate electricity.

Besides developing and delivering the project, the HZI/BESIX consortium will also operate and maintain the plant for at least 30 years. Under the agreement with the city administration, the electricity generated will be fed into the local grid and a tipping fee will be levied for the waste disposal companies.
This prestigious project in Dubai marks the first step toward sustainable waste management in the United Arab Emirates, with further EfW plants planned for the region in the next few years.

Overall, the market in the Middle East provides extensive potential for innovative Swiss technologies and solution. Nowadays, local companies and governments are increasingly focused on high quality and reliability and value Swiss products to live up to the highest standards. Switzerland Global Enterprise and the Swiss Business Hub Middle East intensified their Cleantech activities over the past three years, with Waste Management being of one their three focal sectors, to support Swiss companies and their business activities in the Middle East.

If you like to learn more about the opportunities for Swiss SMEs in the Cleantech sector in the Middle East, please get in touch with Patrick Bertschi, Project Manager Cleantech at Switzerland Global Enterprise. Email

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