From waste to power: Dubai’s waste-to-energy project sets new standards

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From waste to power

The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, weighs 10,100 tonnes. Approximately 188 Eiffel Towers is the weight of municipal solid waste processed each year by the newly completed Dubai Waste Management Centre (DMWC) in the United Arab Emirates. 1,900,000 tonnes of waste will be converted into energy – generating 200 MW of electricity and providing around 2% of Dubai’s total energy consumption. Initiated by the Dubai Municipality, the waste-to-energy plant is one of the largest of its kind in the world and represents a significant step towards achieving the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to create a clean energy infrastructure for the country.

The KAEFER team in the United Arab Emirates was responsible for the specification, supply, and installation of thermal insulation on pipework, equipment, and ducts. The project was awarded to KAEFER by our long-lasting client, EM Hidromontaza (EMH). “We are proud to be part of the world’s largest and most efficient waste-to-energy plant, which will supply 135,000 households with electricity every year. A project that reinforces Dubai’s position as a leader in sustainable infrastructure development,” says Sanjay Kumar, Managing Director of KAEFER LLC.

Global collaboration proves invaluable

The DMWC project began construction in 2020 under the leadership of Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) and BESIX, acting as general contractors on behalf of Dubai Municipality. The five-unit waste incineration plant, located at Warsan Landfill, has set a new benchmark in waste-to-energy technology. When fully operational in 2024, the DMWC will contribute significantly to Dubai’s renewable energy landscape for the next 35 years.

As a unique project in the Middle East and KAEFER’s first renewable energy project in the UAE, the global collaboration between KAEFER’s Corporate Innovation & Technical Excellence department and the local team proved invaluable. Engineers from Bremen calculated the optimum insulation thickness for the ducts and equipment in the early stages of the project. With 18,300 m² of pipe insulation, 19,000 m² of duct insulation and 6,200 m² of equipment insulation, KAEFER’s contribution is helping to ensure the plant’s energy efficiency and performance for years to come.

The team completed all five units in 298,000 man-hours without an LTI, receiving recognition from HZI for their performance, quality of work, and timely project completion. Sanjay Kumar adds: “We commend the amazing team for their dedication to completing this special project on time and making it a great success for all of us.” As a result, HZI and EMH have already awarded additional orders to KAEFER for this project. Further to their commendable achievements, the team implemented LEAN principles during the project, aiming to minimise waste, optimise processes, and continuously improve. This included providing LEAN training to 150 colleagues at peak times and implementing efficient strategies such as prefabricating duct insulation and cladding in a dedicated laydown area. These initiatives not only increased efficiency but also created more value for both the clients and our teams.

Exemplary project management in action

As with any project, advanced technology and streamlined processes play an important role, but its success strongly depends on the people who run it – and the DWMC project was no exception. At the head of the exceptional KAEFER team was Project Manager Allen Mathew, who has been working with KAEFER for more than 15 years. Allen not only led the workforce but also ensured the success of the project: completion on time, on budget and within scope. For Allen Mathew “…it was great to be part of a sustainable project and to work with new clients, getting to know their culture and ideas.”

This constant pursuit of excellence did not go unnoticed, as the site team received frequent visits and praise from local management and even KAEFER’s Executive Board. “It was a pleasure to visit this site and see how our colleagues in the Middle East are looking for the best safety practices and applying continuous improvement methods using our LEAN tools. KAEFER’s success in the region is certainly driven by this kind of commitment, something we’re very pleased to see throughout the KAEFER world,” says Sandro Barrach, Chief Operating Officer of the KAEFER Group.

The completion of the DWMC project is a major success for KAEFER in the Middle East. As KAEFER General Manager UAE, Amar Deshmukh, states: “It gives us great pride and pleasure to work in this project as our corporate strategy of reducing waste is supporting the national strategy of UAE.” We’re excited about what’s to come!

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