Performance and reliability testing for BESIX Middle East’s landmark Sludge-to-Energy venture in the Emirate of Ajman were completed satisfactorily. The facility, designed and built by ASPCL (Ajman Sewerage (Private) Company Limited) by BESIX Middle East, converts sewage sludge, which was previously regarded as a waste stream, into a lucrative source of renewable energy.
The facility, which is the first of its sort in the UAE, enables on-site green energy production that can cover up to 50% of the ASPCL wastewater treatment facility in Al Jurf’s electricity consumption. The facility comprises 2 power generators having a collective capacity of 2.4 MW, which is comparable to the energy usage of 2,000 UAE residents.
Since 2002, ASPCL has been a key player in the Emirate of Ajman’s wastewater management. The company cleanses 120,000,000 liters of wastewater each day, which is similar to Ajman’s daily sewage discharge.
Sewage sludge is a leftover organic by-product of the biological wastewater treatment that has traditionally been disposed of in conventional landfills by sewage treatment plants. The Sludge-to-Energy factory in Ajman digests sludge to create biogas, which is subsequently utilized to generate heat and energy for the wastewater treatment plant.
This solution is beneficial to the environment. The digestion method allows for a massive decrease in sludge quantities while avoiding the unregulated fermentation of unstabilized sludge, which releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, produces odorous nuisance, and presents a possible risk to public health.
Furthermore, the facility sets the path for future environmental upgrades like solar sludge drying as well as the use of fat, oil, and grease from restaurant grease traps to increase the plant’s electricity production capacity.
ASPCL awarded BESIX Group the project for designing and developing the Sludge-to-Energy facility in 2019, and development continued during the Covid-19 period. This necessitated a high level of innovation and flexibility on the part of the project team, as well as smooth collaboration among all stakeholders, particularly the local government’s electricity provider, Etihad Water & Electricity (EWA).
In just five years, BESIX has effectively commissioned its third sludge-to-energy project. Similar biogas generation and energy recovery projects, including 100 percent energy-neutral facilities, have been successfully deployed in the Netherlands by BESIX.
The Ajman Sludge-to-Energy center is fully compliant with the UAE Federal Government’s strategic environmental and energy goals, including the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030 as well as the UAE Net Zero program, a strategic initiative headed by the Climate Change and Environment Ministry to accomplish net zero emissions by 2050.
The project conforms to essential European biogas plant safety rules, and its emissions satisfy the strict TA Luft standards for air pollution management in Germany.