Dubai company creates biofuel from dairy waste

Maria Church
February 22, 2017
Written by
Feb. 22, 2017 - After two years of research into new and improved ways to create biofuels, Neutral Fuels has become the first company to successfully use butter, cream and ghee waste as a feedstock for creating commercial biofuel.

Importantly, the new fuel is of the same high quality as the vegetable oil-derived biofuel that Neutral Fuels has become renowned for and which has fuelled McDonald’s UAE’s logistics fleet for almost seven million kilometres over the past four years. It is equally European standards compliant, so customers won’t notice any difference.

Karl W Feilder, Chairman and CEO of Neutral Fuels, said the company was inspired by Dubai Municipality’s “Zero Waste by 2030” target.

“Dubai is one of the few places in the world with a proper clean energy vision and a commitment to achieving 100 per cent recycling,” said Feilder. “We concur with Engineer Abdulmajeed Abdulaziz Saifaie, Director of the Waste Management Department, when he says Dubai has to shift from waste collection to sustainable and innovative waste management. This includes more recycling, more waste-to-energy plants and more investment in this field.”
Neutral Fuels participates at all three levels:
  1. It is one of Dubai’s most successful recycling companies
  2. Its biorefinery is a fantastic example of a waste-to-energy plant
  3. Its ongoing research into new production techniques and feedstocks represents a serious investment in Zero Waste.
Feilder continued, “We really want to inspire other companies to find new uses for their waste. Our recipe is to never stop innovating. Even in our seventh year of successfully converting used vegetable cooking oil into biofuel, we were still able to recognise the size and prospects of the dairy sector. Every dairy operation produces a small percentage of waste, plus it always has to dispose of outdated produce. Turning that into biofuel is the most useful thing to do with it.”

According to a research company Mordor Intelligence, the UAE is the second largest producer of dairy products in the GCC after Saudi Arabia and is expected to experience swift growth to 2021. This means even greater quantities of waste and an even greater need to dispose of it intelligently.

The UAE’s annual fresh milk production is 167,000 tonnes, and every 1 per cent waste that is processed into biofuel will result in 1,670,000 litres of biofuel which will reduce the carbon footprint by 4,460 tonnes of carbon and equivalents. Add to this the waste from making butter, cream and ghee and the volume of biofuel from the dairy industry could more than double.

This, together with Neutral Fuels vegetable oil-derived biofuel, helps offset the UAE’s carbon footprint, reported as one of the largest in the world so contributing to solving one of the world’s biggest problems: climate change.

Feilder attributed Neutral Fuel’s success in this innovation partly to a team of reliable and high calibre graduate interns in Dubai, many of them women, who participated in the company’s research with fresh thinking, innovation, and enthusiasm.

“While we create superb opportunities to help them bridge the worlds of academia and business, they help us with all the detail that goes into developing new ways of doing things. It is critically important that we share our knowledge and experience with the next generation of innovators, so that they can pass on the entrepreneurial spirit to everyone they meet.”

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