Dubai: Dubai is hoping to be the world’s first “waste-free city” by 2020, thanks to an ambitious project by Dubai Municipality in which buildings and communities will produce electricity by treating waste.
The civic body’s project titled ‘Wastenizer’ is one of the 26 “10X” Dubai government initiatives approved during the World Government Summit last month.
The 10X project was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to place Dubai government entities 10 years ahead of the rest of the world.
Dubai has the highest waste generation per capita and annually 3.5 million tonnes of waste are generated in the emirate.
Currently, 7,560 square metres of land is used for landfills. As many as 3,850 garbage collection vehicles operate across the emirate with a daily operational cost of Dh2.3 million.
For building a platform for sustainable collection and treatment of waste for future generations, the Applied Sustainability and Renewable Energy Department at the municipality developed the Wastenizer project which will turn waste into clean energy and economic resources, Ahmad Saeed Al Badwawi, director of the department, told Gulf News.
“This involves a decentralised waste treatment plan for buildings and communities. The project disrupts the conventional waste transportation and treatment methods and the need for landfills.”
When waste is no longer waste
■ Wastenizer is a decentralised waste treatment innovated solution that aims to make Dubai the world’s first waste-free city.
WHAT IT PROPOSES
■ Decentralised waste treatment units integrated within buildings and communities.
■ Household waste converted to clean and sustainable energy, which can be fed back to local electricity grid.
■ Collection bins all over the city replaced by autonomous smart bins (solar) at select locations.
■ Waste segregation and sorting using artificial intelligence.
■ Water, a potential by product of treatment process, can be sold for reuse, generating additional revenue.
3,500,000 tonnes of waste generated in Dubai annually will be used to generate
17,500 tonnes of reusable ash.
Dh2.30 million a day to be saved in operating costs.
7,560 square metres of landfills to be recovered.
3,850 fewer garbage trucks, dramatically reducing traffic congestion in the city
Sources: Dubai Municipality, Dubai Government ©Gulf News
How it works
Under the Wastenizer project, high-tech waste treatment units will be integrated within buildings and communities and waste segregation and sorting will be done using artificial intelligence.
“The technology developed by Dubai Municipality will be fully capable of treating solid waste of all types and waste components will be sorted using artificial intelligence and smart technologies.”
Al Badwawi said the innovation will disrupt the present centralised waste collection and treatment network.
The decentralised units will raise the temperature of the waste resulting in the breakdown of the waste’s chemical components. This makes it environmentally friendly and helps produce clean electrical energy which will be exported to the local electricity grid.
“The 3.5 million tonnes of waste can generate 17,500 tonnes of reusable ash for the production of green concrete.”
The numerous collection bins all over the city will be replaced by autonomous and solar-powered smart bins at selected sites for implementing the project.
“This innovation is the first of its kind worldwide and has very high efficiency and self-ignition with catalyst e-stones [composite material made of crushed stone] driven by renewable energy.”
When the 3,850 trucks are spared from the waste transporting operation, the emirate will also witness dramatic reduction in traffic and CO2 emission.
“If we can save Dh2 million a day by avoiding these trucks, it will be a saving of Dh730 million per year,” said Al Badwawi.
The project can help address the disadvantages of the current waste management system such as negative environmental impact, traffic, economic and social costs.
The project is expected to create awareness about the need for reduction, segregation and recycling of waste among the residents. Buildings and communities producing less waste will get more recycling credit.
The project is expected to be implemented in several regions of Dubai before the emirate hosts Expo 2020.
With a strategic goal of diverting 75 per cent of waste from landfills by 2021, Dubai has come up with various initiatives including the setting up 13 Smart Sustainable Oasis Centres across the emirate where segregated waste can be deposited for recycling, reusing of demolition waste in road construction and most lately, the announcement about the launch of a waste-to-energy plant.
The municipality is exhibiting the Wastenizer project and other important sustainable solutions at the three-day Middle East Electricity Exhibition, which opened at Dubai World Trade Centre on Tuesday.