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Saudi Arabia: US to Set Up Plant for Electricity From Waste Water


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia  -- For the first time, a state-of-the-art plant will be set up in the Kingdom for convertingwaste water into the production of electricity. "We are pleased with the rapid progress being made toward establishing our first waste-to-energy facilities in Saudi Arabia," Peter Toscano, CEO of Florida-based International Power Group Ltd. (IPWG), has announced.


The plant, which will be established in the southeastern coast city of Jizan, represents a major twin move on the Kingdom's part to recycle waste water for power generation and environmental preservation. It marks an improvement on its previous initiative that saw the development of Riyadh River created by recycling industrial waste water into a lake, which attracts migratory birds during winter.


More recently, the power generation crisis made headlines with the Saudi Electricity Company's decision to cut power supply by four hours to the industrial estate in Riyadh for the next two week.


Toscano said his company has received authorization from the Kingdom's Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) office to determine the viability of establishing the company's first waste-to-energy plant in the city of Jizan, located in the southeast of the Kingdom, near the border of Yemen. A team of consulting engineers and scientists working with IPWG will be conduct feasibility studies in that region.


He said that once this location is determined as viable, a timetable will be developed for construction of the waste-to-energy facility. The company expects that plant construction would begin in late 2006.


The Kingdom is one of the world's fastest growing economies. The rapid pace of development has strained the Kingdom's limited drinking water supply and its electricity resources. IPWG's waste-to-energy technology, with its purified drinking water by-product, is deemed to be "the perfect solution to the Kingdom's waste disposal, drinking water and electricity needs," according to Toscano.


The strain on the Kingdom's limited water resources has resulted in a new regulation from the Jeddah Municipality which makes it obligatory that restaurants, hotels and even small retail cooked food outlets should recycle their used oils.


The regulation for careful disposal and recycling of waste oil also applies to small businesses that offer

oil-changes for vehicles.


The new regulations also cover the disposal of solid and organic waste. Businesses are required to have contracts with one of 12 local companies appointed by the municipality for the safe disposal of commercial waste.


This new directive applies to the entire Kingdom with the municipality supervising and making sure that the markets, car shops, hotels are signed up with the "waste" companies. The municipality expects that violations of the new regulations will generate an extra income in fines of multimillion riyals a day; some estimates are as high as SR64 million Kingdom-wide. They expect violators to include industry and commerce, hotels, furnished apartments.


IPWG intends to establish waste-to-energy facilities to convert commercial, hazardous, organic and toxic wastes into saleable electricity and potable water. The company believes it is uniquely positioned to produce revenue from in-processing waste and out-processing electricity and drinking water, addressing the growing need globally for renewable "green" sources of energy.


According to M.A. Al-Zahrani and Z.I. Fakhri Al-Shanshouri of the Ministry of Health, the estimated mean quantity of all healthcare risk waste generated in the Kingdom is 25,207 tons annually. This has created environmental health hazards.


By Javid Hassan


Arab News 2006




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