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Biodiesel plant to be set up in UAE

July 04, 2011

DUBAI — Dubai takes lead in the Middle East as the emirate becomes first in the region for setting up a plant that produces biodiesel using recycled vegetable oil.

Dubai FDI, the foreign investment promotion arm of the Department of Economic Development (DED), Government of Dubai, has brought together Dubai-based newly established Neutral Fuels and McDonald’s UAE in a first-of-its-kind partnership to produce environmentally friendly 100 per cent biodiesel from used vegetable oil.

The new initiative also marks a major milestone in Dubai’s efforts to encourage local firms to acquire critical competencies and add more diversity to the business landscape in Dubai.

The US food chain uses over 20,000 litres vegetable oil at its 90 outlets in the UAE. The first licensed commercial biodiesel factory in the region will have an annual production capacity of one million litres. “We can convert one litre of used vegetable oil into one litre biodiesel,” Karl Feilder, Chairman of The Neutral Group, told Khaleej Times at a news conference on Sunday.

As per the new initiative, used vegetable oil will be collected from McDonald’s outlets across the UAE under a long-term contract with Neutral Fuels and converted into 100 per cent biodiesel. McDonald’s UAE will use the 100 per cent biodiesel in its logistics fleet, thus achieving significant reductions in its carbon footprint.

At the moment there is no saving on fuel cost, but may be in long-term when diesel prices go high, McDonald’s UAE Managing Director and Partner Rafic Fakih said. The initiative is not for saving purpose, it’s prime objective is to reduce carbon footprint.

“As a founder of the CSR Network and partner of Emirates Environment Group, McDonald’s UAE has demonstrated a passionate and long-term commitment to investing in environmental initiatives.  … We believe it is a step in the right direction towards a more environmentally-friendly UAE, and we would encourage other public and private companies to do the same.”

Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai FDI, said: “Neutral Fuels and McDonald’s UAE have formed a unique synergy that promotes business as well as conservation. It is a testament to the innovative opportunities presented by Dubai for profitable investment, business growth and commercial application of state-of-the-art technologies. It also underscores the fact that sustainability makes good business sense.”

Neutral Fuels is a joint venture between the Neutral Group, a major provider of energy-efficient operational solutions for leading companies worldwide, and an Emirati member of Dubai SME. Dubai FDI supported Neutral Fuels LLC through its entire cycle and was instrumental in the new enterprise becoming the first commercial producer of 100 per cent biodiesel in the Middle East.

“I it is an honour to be the first company to be licensed by the government to produce biodiesel in the Middle East. We hope that this initiative demonstrates to a wide audience that going green can be both environmentally desirable and commercially viable,” Feilder said.

Biodiesel is a cleaner alternative energy source in the face of increasing energy demand in the region and mounting concerns on global warming.

Made from organic sources such as vegetable oils and edible oils, 100 per cent biodiesel can be used in place of conventional diesel bringing about obvious substantial savings on fuel and better environmental performance of diesel engines. The vehicles being used under the first phase required no modification and are running seamlessly on 100 per cent biodiesel.


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