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Plans for the development on Teesside of a huge waste to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) project by the Saudi Arabian business ‘alfanar’ have moved forward.

Last year the company secured support from the UK government worth £2.4 million under the green fuels Lighthouse project for its proposed plant in north east England.

Alfanar has plans for a £1 billion Teesside sustainable aviation fuels plant taking in one million tonnes of waste a year. The technology to be used is described as an “innovative waste-to-liquid (WtL) process utilising gasification and Fischer-Tropsch technology to convert household and commercial waste, otherwise destined for landfill or incineration, into approximately 180 MM litres of SAF and naphtha”.

Targets

SAF is becoming important within the airline industry as governments, which includes the European Union, are setting targets for the use of SAF in aircraft fuels to reduce the carbon emissions from aircraft.

There is competition to be the front-runners for such projects and earlier this Summer alfanar announced that its Teesside SAF plant had entered the Front-End Engineering and Design stage which could see it producing “green fuel” by 2027.

The proposed alafanar site on Teesside

However, to help ensure the viability of the plant, alfanar said it was calling on the UK government to introduce a “price stability mechanism for early SAF projects”.

Contractor for the FEED phase is Worley and the company said of the appointment: “this milestone makes the project the most advanced SAF facility in the UK today, and is due online in 2027.”

The plant is to be built in Teesside’s net zero industrial cluster and, claimed alfanar, has the potential to utilise the East Coast Cluster’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure, due to be available from the mid-2020s, to further reduce the SAF’s carbon intensity.

alfanar has also said that it is “actively evaluating other UK sites for its second and third SAF plants to be built by 2030 and 2035 respectively, and plans to develop further green projects in the UK and beyond utilising CCS and hydrogen infrastructure”.

Potential

Mishal Almutlaq, chief investment officer of alfanar said:“With the third largest aviation network in the world, and with one of the world’s largest potential offshore CO2 stores, the UK has the industrial and geological advantages to become a global leader in developing green aviation fuel with the lowest possible emissions using CCS technology. That is why we want to build our first ever SAF plant in the UK by 2027 and two further plants by 2035.

Mr Almutlaq continued: “To deliver net zero aviation, the Government has already established the Jet Zero Council, has announced grant funding for SAF projects, and is consulting on a Jet Zero Strategy. To continue this leadership, and to enable alfanar’s first SAF project and other similar early projects to progress, price certainty is also needed. We are therefore today calling on the UK Government to progress the SAF mandate and introduce a price stabilisation mechanism such as a Contract for Difference for SAF.”

Greener flying

Aviation Minister Robert Courts MP said: “Aviation will be central to our future growth, so it’s essential we deliver greener flying. Thanks to alfanar’s investment the UK could be producing cleaner fuel in a few years, not only making us more sustainable, but also creating more jobs and strengthening our economy.”

Tees Valley

Mayor of Tees Valley Ben Houchen said: “Whether it be in hydrogen, CCUS, offshore wind or sustainable aviation fuel, Teesside has established itself as a global centre for developing the green technologies that will mean we can achieve our ambitious net zero targets.”

Mayor Houchen continued: “This milestone by alfanar is another first, and further strengthens our region’s position as the number one place to develop new clean energy tech. alfanar’s sustainable aviation fuel plant will create 700 good-quality well paid jobs during construction and 240 full time roles when operational, fuelling our economy whilst reducing the emissions from a huge number of flights.”

THUWAL — King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has announced that Edama Organic Solutions, an organic waste recycling KAUST startup, officially opened its new recycling facility.

Located in the KAUST Research and Technology Park, the facility is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia to feature technology that provides waste processing and desert agriculture solutions — innovations in support of Vision 2030 sustainability goals.

All waste currently generated in Saudi Arabia is sent to landfills, where it represents a threat to the environment and public health, and is an economic burden on public administrations and businesses. Organic waste constitutes about 65% of the country's discarded matter.

Waste buildup produces hazardous greenhouse gasses like methane that pollute the air and react with other waste types, creating harmful byproducts such as leachate, a contaminated liquid that pollutes underground soil and water sources.

Edama's technology combats this, mastering the delicate biology in the composting process to transform organic waste into high-value products for desert agriculture, tree plantation and land restoration projects.

The new facility, developed in collaboration with KAUST Facility Management, will recycle 100% of the university's food and green waste, producing about 4,500 m3 of high-quality soil improver with great benefits for local sandy soils. The facility positions Edama as the only local company with hands-on, in-depth industry knowledge and experience in organic waste recycling.

"We're delighted to see the growth and scale of Edama Organic Solutions since their inception at KAUST and this milestone of their first facility opening,” said Dr. Kevin Cullen, vice president of KAUST Innovation. “This will change how KAUST recycles organic waste and reshape the future of waste management in the Kingdom."

By transforming organic rubbish into valuable input products for desert agriculture, landscaping and gardening, the startup aims to address both environmental pollution and plant cultivation in arid regions. Edama can reduce ecological threats and public health by diverting organic waste from landfills, a shift that will aid the sustainable development of Saudi Arabia's growing cities, mega-projects andVision 2030 recycling targets while also providing soil improvers, which are in high demand due to the recently established Saudi Green Initiative (SGI).

SGI will require massive amounts of high-quality soil improvers, as the government plans to plant 10 billion trees in desert soils.

Dr. Sabrina Vettori, Edama Organic Solutions CEO and co-founder, stated, "At Edama, we believe that sustainable development of our cities can be achieved through efficient management of our resources. By turning organic waste into a resource for restoring our soils, we contribute to improving water management, increase desert agriculture productivity and enable the realisation of land restoration and tree plantation projects."

Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) has recently awarded Edama the opportunity to design, build and operate their next organic waste recycling facility on a much larger scale. Along with the new facility, Edama will expand upon its critical work as they help prepare the Kingdom and MENA region to respond to significant growth and food demand over the coming decades.

KAUST's support and mentoring throughout their various initiatives has helped Edama grow from a lab-based startup into a leading provider of organic waste recycling solutions for arid environments. As a world leader in sustainable technologies, KAUST remains focused on cutting-edge solutions to diversify the economy in KSA while contributing to a more sustainable future. 

Source: Saudi Gazette

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