A deal was signed last week to kick-start the waste-to-energy sector in the United Arab Emirates.

The pact was signed at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi by clean energy group Masdar and Sharjah-based environment and waste management company Bee’ah.

Bee’ah chairman Salim Al Owais said the agreement “gives the green light for an innovative approach to environmental solutions and energy”.

Central to the deal is a plan to create a Centre of Excellence in Waste Management in Sharjah to advance education, innovation and capacity building in waste-to-energy.

The two companies have also formed a consortium to take part in a tender process for the Integrated Waste Management: Northern Emirates project managed by the Ministry of Environment and Water, which – if successful – will see two waste-to-energy plants built in the UAE by around 2021.

The UAE government has a target to divert waste from landfills by 75 per cent by 2021.

Masdar chief executive Dr Ahmad Belhoul said: “When people think of sustainability they tend to focus on the water-energy-food nexus, but waste is a critical part of the equation. Dumping waste in landfills is not desirable, so finding innovative ways to release the embodied energy in waste is crucial if we are to address the sustainability challenges of increased urbanization and consumerism.”