Achieving zero flaring of oil and gas
The flaring of natural gas as a by-product of oil production wastes contributes to severe air pollution and GHG emissions.
The UAE has succeeded in reducing flaring of natural gas from the oil and gas industry since the 1990s and its policy is shifting from minimal flaring to zero-tolerance.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) group aims to eliminate routine flaring and had reduced flaring by 76.4 per cent in 2013.
Within the ADNOC group, an offshore exploration and production (E&P) company has already achieved zero flaring at its Zakum oilfields for the first time.
Onshore, an ADNOC gas E&P company developed a flare management strategy for its Shah Gas Development Project, with the aim of minimising flaring from well-testing and clean-up operations.
Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has accumulated knowledge on formulating policies and projects to reduce flaring and has been serving as a partner of the World Bank's Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership since 2009.
To share its advanced experiences of flaring reduction, Abu Dhabi has been hosting the annual Flare Management and Reduction Summit since 2012.
Developing win-win technologies
These include various techniques to enhance oil extraction such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods that help inject natural gas contained in old reservoirs to add pressure and boost output.
Another technique is carbon capture and storage (CCS) that helps enhance oil recovery and slow down the pace of climate change.
In 2013, ADNOC set up a joint venture with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) to implement carbon capture and storage projects by which, 800,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted annually from Emirates Steel's plant will be piped 50 km to onshore oilfields to enhance oil recovery.
Increasing efficiency standards
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) is gradually introducing a mandatory efficiency rating and labelling system on domestic electrical appliances and water fixtures to help consumers make resource-efficient choices.
The UAE's lighting standard was also introduced in December 2013 to prevent inefficient incandescent light bulbs from entering the market.
Abu Dhabi Ports and Khalifa Industrial Zone (Kizad) announced the launch of construction activities of National Food Product Company (NFPC) in a 752,000-sq metre production facility in Kizad. The factory will be an energy-saving facility and one of the first fully automated one in the world.
The first phase of the NFPC facility with energy and water saving features will comprise a 5-gallon water bottling plant, a dairy, a juice and small water bottling plant under one roof.
The second phase of the project will comprise a fully automated packaging factory producing tailored containers for the food industry, a modern recycling plant to manufacture products using waste materials and the largest fully automated cold store.
Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Emirates Aluminium (Emal), which were merged into Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) in 2013, introduced a co-generation and combined cycle configuration in their power stations, achieving 46-48 per cent thermal efficiency.
According to UAE State of Green Economy Report 2014, Dubai's greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity in production was reduced by 12 per cent in five years.
The UAE aims to upgrade infrastructure and make industries sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.
Natural gas is a viable cleaner alternative fuel to gasoline as it produces fewer emissions and the running cost of vehicles is around 30 per cent less.
ADNOC's gas processing and fuel distribution subsidiaries are leading the way to expand the use of the compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles by investing in the infrastructure to ensure that there are enough filling stations to support additional demand for such vehicles.
The first phase of the Natural Gas for Vehicles (NGV) project involves the installation of CNG pumps at 16 stations in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain as well as in the emirate of Sharjah, with a capacity to fill 10,000 vehicles per day.
In Dubai, Emirates Gas (EMGAS), an ENOC subsidiary, started an initiative to popularise CNG as an automotive fuel in 2006. Moreover, more than 3,000 public transport vehicles have been adapted to run on CNG.
In addition, a pilot project was conducted with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) that converted diesel-operated wooden abras (water taxis) running on the Dubai creek to operate on CNG.
In addition, CNG is introduced to fleet users such as Dubai Municipality, DP World, Emirates Group, Transguard and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) among others.
In July 2014, the UAE became the first country in the Middle East to make use of 'green diesel' in all commercial diesel vehicles mandatory. The new Cabinet decree and the updated guidelines from Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) requires replacement of the diesel fuel that contains 500 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur with diesel fuel that contains only 10 ppm similar to Euro 5 standards. This reduction in sulphur levels will significantly reduce particulate matters (PM) and pollutants and contribute to cleaner and healthier environment.
Introducing green service stations
ENOC introduced the first 'green service station' in the Emirates Hills neighbourhood in Dubai. This station applies a variety of state-of-the-art technologies and features including:
- Devices to contain petrol fumes released by the pump
- A system that segregates waste
- Waste bins that are colour-coded
- Furniture made from recycled materials
- A vacuum system that is centralised and supports power conservation, reduces waste and noise.
The station generates half of its energy requirements from renewable sources as it uses solar-powered pole and light-emitting diode (LED) lights. Diverse sustainable water features have been installed to reduce water use by a quarter.
It uses sensor water taps and two-stage flush systems in the toilets and recycles carwash water while also providing customers the option to use a waterless carwash system with an all-in-one eco-friendly liquid.
Smart energy management
Demand-side management (DSM) focuses on reducing and optimising energy consumption as an additional option to meet network demand. DSM activities generally comprise a portfolio of policies and programmes for improving energy efficiency and demand response.
At the core of this demand-side approach is the introduction of smart metres that can provide more precise information about energy use and ensure faster responses to changing supply and demand through automatic reconnections.
In Abu Dhabi, the Department of Energy launched a DSM programme defining a holistic energy efficiency strategy that ensures a shift towards the development of a smart grid that will support the future needs of the society.
It has completed an implementation roadmap for the programme and has already made significant progress in rolling out advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) over 400,000 of the existing 680,000 consumer points in the municipalities of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
AMI collects consumption data remotely via smart metres, which is validated and transferred through data management systems to its customer billing system.
In Dubai, as the emirate set a target of 30 per cent reduction in energy demand by 2030 as a key objective of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, DEWA has developed a DSM roadmap and action plan over the short, medium and long-term to 2030.
These include 8 DSM programmes and 24 initiatives covering all the potential saving areas and include cost-benefit analysis, implementation and financing mechanisms and measurement and verification methodology.
In addition, DEWA replaced conventional metres with 200,000 smart metres all over Dubai.
The understanding and collaboration from people is essential for sustainable consumption.
In Dubai, since June 2013, DEWA has been including in the utility bill a statement of CO2 emissions equivalent to customers' electricity consumption to raise awareness about the impact of climate change.
According to Living Planet Report 2006 compiled by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the UAE recorded the world's highest Ecological Footprint. Responding to this finding, the Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF) and Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) started the Heroes of the UAE campaign, with the spirit of 'It's only in times of crisis that the heroes emerge'.
The campaign has been centred on a website, where people can find out everything they need to know about the causes of the problem and find out what they can do to help solve it.
15 organisations joined the programme, with half successfully completing their pledges to become 'Verified Corporate Heroes'. On average, each company saved 12 per cent of energy, 35 per cent of water and 16 per cent of carbon emissions in a year.
Launching Masdar City
Abu Dhabi's Masdar City project is seeking to provide a commercially viable eco-city model that delivers the highest quality of living and working environment with the lowest possible ecological footprint. The project, located close to Abu Dhabi International Airport, has attracted worldwide attention as a future model eco-city since its construction started in 2008.
The streets act as wind tunnels with help from a large wind tower inspired by that of traditional local houses. The buildings have a thick layer of insulation and the windows are arranged to give enough light but to prevent the sun from overheating. The required energy comes from the city's own 10-MW PV plant and a rooftop solar installation totalling 1 MW.
The UAE is a leader in adopting district cooling systems (DCS) as the preferred alternative to conventional air conditioning. In general, DCS consume 50 per cent less energy than the conventional systems. A number of district cooling utility companies have emerged and more than one in ten residents now use the systems.
Green building codes
In 2010, the UAE Cabinet approved the Green Building and Sustainable Building standards to be applied across the country. Application of these standards started in government buildings early 2011.
The project is expected to save AED 10 billion by 2030 and reduce around 30 per cent of carbon emissions.
Abu Dhabi introduced the five-level Estidama Pearl Rating System. It is mandatory for all new buildings to obtain a one-pearl rating, while all government buildings and residential villas must obtain two pearls.
Dubai introduced the green building regulations containing 79 specifications, which is now mandatory for all developments.
Introducing new modes of public transport
In Abu Dhabi
Updated on 19 Jul 2020