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Green power from Dubai’s household waste

The conversion of the Al Qusais landfill site in Dubai from a waste dump to an efficient power production facility has set a new standard for the Middle East. Editor Gary Wright meets Anita Nouri, Business Development Director of Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC and Zak Nouri, Director of Operations. Anita and Zak are the leading people on the ground behind Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC, the company that won the Energy Efficiency Project of the Year in the BGreen Awards 2013

For 28 years Al Qusais has been home to the Dubai’s biggest rubbish dump where more than 1,000 trucks arrive daily to dump 6,000 tonnes of city’s waste. The site became operational in January 2013 when Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC (GESS) along with the Director General of Dubai Municipality, H.E. Hussain Lootah, commissioned the first landfill gas flaring project, ultimately turning the landfill into an environmental, well managed and maintained site.
Historically Al Qusais was a waste mountain, on the border of Sharjah – but in two years a transformation has taken place.
“Today through an innovative design of the piping system, GESS was able to keep the landfill active and create a more environmental, healthier landfill that is no longer a smelly eyesore for the surrounding residents,” said Anita Nouri, Business Development Director.
She arrived in Dubai with her husband Zak from Canada in 2008 with their family determined to do something good for Dubai and the UAE. With Zak’s background in construction and their joint knowledge of environment, recycling and the sustainable possibilities in the waste mountain at Al Qusais, they began their five-year journey.
“Landfill produces a huge opportunity for sustainable energy projects and no one was doing anything with the landfill here in the Middle East,” said Zak who is Director of Operations.
They set up GESS in 2011 and along with their financial investors began the development of the Al Qusais site. Anita said: “It was Always in line with the vision of Dubai Municipality to provide a safe and healthy living environment their goal was not to create more landfills but to make this landfill a more environmental place that can find value in the waste and provide power for the surrounding community.”
Four years ago carbon credits were very bankable and a good investment but today with the fall of the carbon market worldwide it has become a challenge that GESS plans to meet and overcome with the implementation of the power generation project.
“True waste to energy is the utilisation of the landfill gas that is harming our environment and producing power out of this waste gas to generate electricity” said Anita Nouri. When the project was commissioned, H.E. Hussain Lootah dubbed the Al Qusais site: 20/20 with a vision towards the future.
Al Qusais has been transformed into a well-managed landfill site and the passengers of cars that travel daily on E311 Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road from Sharjah to Dubai now see only a sand covered mountain about 30 metres high where they would have seen discarded waste only a few years ago.

Carbon credits
Carbon credits accumulated with the Al Qusais project are the equivalent of removing 60,000 cars from the road each year and can be sold to help other companies meet their carbon reduction targets. This goal of GESS and the Dubai Carbon Center to be able to help reduce Dubai’s overall carbon footprint.
“The waste is now carefully managed – there have been no major incidents on site and it is a safer place for the workers and the neighboring community” said Zak. “We have organised events on site and have even hosted ‘Feed the Workers’ during the Eid Al Atah where we fed over 400 labours and truck drivers that are impacted by the Al Qusais site.”
Site construction started in January 2012 and was fully completed and operational by January 2013 with the commissioning of the flare equipment and the registration with the United Nations as a large scale CDM project.
Anita said: “We are leaders in the region with the implementation of innovative green technologies and sustainable solutions and along with our technology partners combined our team has been involved in over 1,500 landfill project globally.”
On July 29 2013 Dubai Municipality and GESS marked a “green” milestone when the Al Qusais landfill became fully powered by the landfill gas.
Dubai’s Eng. Lootah said: “This is a significant milestone in Dubai’s journey towards being a sustainable city and is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to undertake initiatives that conserve our environment.”
Anita told BGreen: “Now with the hosting of the World Expo 2020 GESS is proud to support and work with Dubai Municipality towards that goal of achieving Sustainable Energy Strategies and the exploration of alternative energy sources that will reduce the demand on existing power generation and fossil fuels.”
The collection system collects the landfill gas through an intricately laid network of 22 kilometres of horizontal and vertical pipes. The collection system is around the parameter of the landfill enabling the top of the landfill to remain clear and keep the site active for many years to come.
A Hofstetter Umwelttechnik AG high-efficiency enclosed flare, which safely disposes the flammable constituents of the landfill gas, particularly methane.
The Al Qusais project is a success and as the only landfill gas recovery system in the region to produce electricity, it has become a showcase for what can be achieved. Municipalities and governments are queuing up to consult with Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC (GESS).

On site
The BGreen team visited the site where Anita and Zak Nouri allowed them to tour the facility and the site.
Zak Nouri’s pride in what has been achieved at the two-km by three-km landfill site is evident as he drives the BGreen team around. Mr. Nouri pointed out the pipe collection points and showed how more than 1,000 trucks are able to dump the waste daily without being hindered by the gas collection system or plant operations. He emphasised that the waste is compacted and covered to ensure the safety on the site, reduce the smells, and reduce the risk of fires. GESS is working alongside the Waste Management Team of Dubai Municipality to follow the best standards.
We sit in his 4×4 on a 30m high mountain of waste looking down on the new deliveries some 20 metres below, and we see the GESS Flaring plant with the Proud Flags of the UAE waving and feel the pride of achievement that Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC has been able to achieve. He said: “Once the new waste reaches this height, it will be sealed and then more waste will be laid across the top to a maximum height of 42 metres. This site will be producing electricity for the next 20 to 25 years but as it grows it will be able to continue to produce more potential power.”
Al Qusais is a success and will become the blueprint for waste sites across the region and GESS is set to be a leader on both a consultant and contractor level. It makes commercial sense, it has dramatically improved the lives of people around the site and it works.
The last word should go to Anita Nouri, Business Development Director of Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC: “We are thankful to Dubai Municipality for the opportunity to be part of this landmark project that sets a First in the GCC region.
“Our vision was never to create more landfills but to optimize the existing ones and tap into a source of energy that is currently being vented into the atmosphere. Dubai Municipality’s 2020 vision clearly demonstrated this city’s thought leadership in promoting Environmental Sustainability and GESS is proud to be a part of that future.”

Al Qusais landfill site has become a showcase for what can be achieved with the millions of tonnes of waste produced across the world and GESS is now looking at other sites across the region.
Anita said: “Qusais is a prime example of how we can create Global Stewardship while we combat global warming by capturing and flaring the landfill gas that was naturally being vented into the atmosphere – site is reducing GHG to the equivalent of over 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.“
As an added benefit GESS is utilizing a portion of the gas to power a modified landfill gas generator (GE Jenbacher J320) to power the full load of the site and the GESS equipment. This has enabled the site to be sustainable and provide its own power from the landfill gas while it has reduced the amount of diesel that was previously being used by the Municipality to power its site offices and the GESS site works. Al Qusais is a registered CDM Project with the UNFCCC that will reduce GHG emissions from the landfill by over 350,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. The project is registered as CDM Project No 8269 LFG Flaring Project, Dubai UAE for the reduction of CH4 (Methane) which is 21 times more harmful than CO2.
Zak said: “GESS is proud to be part of the Dubai initiative of environmental awareness and by constructing this landfill gas project at the Al Qusais Landfill site we are achieving many goals; drastic reduction in fires, control odour nuisance, reduce health risks and adverse environmental impacts.” In the future GESS is hoping to connect to the grid and provide 12 Mw of power to DEWA from the landfill gas.


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DSCE to visit the US to present State of the Energy Report 2014

The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE) has sent a high profile delegation to New York, led by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer (right), vice chairman of the Supreme Council of Energy to present the first State of the Energy Report: Dubai 2014 at the United Nations.

Al Tayer praised the current cooperation and synergy between the Supreme Council of Energy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the noticeable contribution in the preparation to launch the State of Energy Report 2014.

This report is one of the pioneering steps to consolidate and support the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to achieve the UAE Vision 2021 to make the UAE one of the best countries in world.

The report provides information and key insights on how a knowledge economy can achieve green and sustainable development.

Launching of the report last October coincided with World Energy Day, which was endorsed by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and adopted by 54 other countries around the world in addition to representatives from the United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union, when the Dubai Declaration of Energy for All was signed on 22 October 2012.

It also coincided with Dubai successfully being chosen to host the Expo 2020. A select group of international experts and business leaders contributed in the discussion of the bid committee with representatives and delegates of the state members of Bureau International des Expositions from 167 nations.

During the visit, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer Vice Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy will deliver speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York to launch the State of the Energy Report: Dubai 2014 and will sign an MOU between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the UNDP to enhance cooperation and preparation of the World Green Economy Summit that will be held next April in Dubai during the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX 2014).


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DEWA participates in the ‘World Climate Summit 2013′

A high-profile delegation from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority ( DEWA ) is on an official visit to the Republic of Poland, and Russian Federation to participate in the ‘World Climate Summit 2013′. The delegation is headed by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA.

They will meet senior officials from the energy and economy sectors in both countries, and visit ministries, organisations, and companies that work in the areas of energy, water, and environment.

Al Tayer will showcase the projects and initiatives of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and present the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, which is in line with vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

He will also invite Polish and Russian companies to participate in the 16th Water Energy Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX 2014), which will be held in conjunction with the ‘World Green Economy Summit 2014′ on 14-16 April, 2014 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

During the visit to Poland, the delegation will participate in the ‘World Climate Summit’ held in Warsaw. The Summit is the biggest gathering for government officials, and business and finance leaders, as well as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP19).

The delegation will meet with the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ), on the side lines of the International Exhibition and Forum, called Exploration, Production and Processing 2013.

In Russia, the delegation will discuss ways of collaboration with the State Unitary Enterprise of the City of Moscow, Moscow Centre for Implementation of Scientific and Technological Achievements (MOSKVA), and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation. The delegation will also visit several Russian organisations and companies to view their achievements.

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EGBC to discuss importance of effective waste management

Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC), an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices, will organise an industry networking event that discusses the importance of effective waste management.

Bringing together various stakeholders from the building industry supply chain, the networking event will be held on November 13, 2013, from 7 to 9pm at Ivory 1, Sheraton Hotel, Mall of the Emirates Dubai.

The discussion will cover smart and innovative design and practices for waste management, strategies within the community and at educational institutions, and the importance of recycling and waste management.

Adnan Sharafi, Chairman of EmiratesGBC and Board Member of the World Green Building Council, said: “The UAE has clearly underlined its commitment to the values outlined by the United Nations to address environmental issues including global climate change, waste management and recycling. With the GCC countries reportedly producing over 120 million tonnes of solid waste every year, there are concerted efforts being launched to manage and recycle waste.

“The networking event by EmiratesGBC puts the spotlight on effective mechanisms to manage waste, by encouraging the various stakeholders to work together for more sustainable built environments. With the growth in population, industrialisation and urbanisation, waste generation is expected to increase, and we must take timely measures now to safeguard our environment for the future generations.”

InSinkErator, the sponsor of the event, will also mark the company’s 75th anniversary by offering the first 75 registered participants with gift vouchers.

The event is open for EmiratesGBC members and non-members. The fee per delegate is AED 50 for members and AED 150 for non-members. Those who are interested to participate in the networking event can register at: events@emiratesgbc.org before November 11.


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du releases second Sustainable Development Report

On October 29, du announced the release of its second Sustainable Development Report 2012 – for which it has garnered a remarkable B+ rating by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The Sustainable Development Report conforms to the GRI G3.1 guidelines of the United Nations Global Compact – which du has been a member of since 2008.

du’s Sustainable Development Report 2012 covers initiatives carried out by the company across the triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit. It demonstrates du’s dedicated triple bottom line ecosystem, in which the company focuses on human, social and intellectual capital (People), natural capital (Planet), and financial capital (Profit).

du’s reporting approach is divided into five chapters: Our Approach, Our People, Our Customers, Our Environment and Our Community.

Highlights of the report from within these chapters include:

Corporate Governance: du’s goal is to create shareholder value by combining responsible business practices with the highest standards of business integrity and accountability.

Emiratisation: As an Emirati company, du is keen to empower UAE Nationals with rewarding careers. In 2012, the company achieved an Emiratisation level of 31% – 3% higher than the anticipated level of 28%.

Pioneering External Engagement: du was the first telecommunications company to launch a Customer Satisfaction Report, setting new standards of transparency and engagement with external stakeholders.

Green Retail Outlet: As the owner of the UAE’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certified retail outlet – the du Shop in Fujairah City Centre – du is a pioneer in local sustainable business practices.

Supporting Local Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) being the main contributors to the UAE’s GDP and generating two thirds of the nation’s employment opportunities. du, keen to nurture them, does so in several ways – from developing tailored communications solutions that make keeping in touch even easier and more affordable, to supporting initiatives such as GES-EVA and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders.


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UNEP urges lead paints to be phased out

Children in the developing world are still exposed to “astonishingly high and dangerous levels of lead” through unsafe paints, finds a study by the UN Environment Programme, released Tuesday during the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action.

The study analysed enamel decorative paints from: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia and Uruguay. The research was organised by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, a group co-led by UNEP and the World Health Organisation.

Most of the paints tested would not meet regulatory standards established in most industrialised countries. Generally, white paints had the lowest lead content, while red, green and yellow paints had the highest lead levels.

Both Chile and Uruguay have national executive decrees that prohibit the production, import, distribution, sale and use of decorative paints with a lead concentration above 600 ppm, and all of the paints tested in these two countries had low total lead concentrations.

But in each of the other seven countries studied, two or more of the samples of enamel decorative paints had lead content greater than 10,000 ppm.

Lead in paint is a problem because painted surfaces deteriorate with time and disturbance, releasing the lead into household dust and soil outside.

An estimated 143,000 deaths a year result from lead poisoning, according to WHO data; lead paint is a major contributor to this death toll.

Worldwide, 30 countries have phased out the use of lead paint. The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint has set a target of 70 countries by 2015.

Over the last seven years, similar studies found high average lead concentrations in Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.

The UNEP report recommends:
National efforts to promote the establishment of legal and regulatory frameworks to control the manufacture, import, export, sale and use of lead paints and products coated with lead paints.

Paint manufacturers are encouraged to eliminate lead compounds from their paint formulations, and participate in programs that provide third party certification that no lead has been added to their paint. They are encouraged to label products to help consumers identify paints free of added lead.



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