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BEEAH

UAE - Green Economy

Khaled Al Huraimel

Group CEO and Vice Chairman, BEEAH

Bio

Khaled Al Huraimel is Group CEO and Vice Chairman of BEEAH Group, a company that has grown at an incredible rate from its origins in waste management to a diversified conglomerate operating across industries that are critical to shaping a sustainable, smart future and elevating quality of life. Since August 2009, his transformational leadership has enabled the company to achieve tenfold growth in just over a decade. Today, the company has scaled to a workforce of over 13,000, entered new geographies including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and diversified into various sectors such as waste management, recycling, clean energy, environmental consulting, education, green mobility, technology, healthcare, and real estate. Under his leadership, BEEAH Group has achieved unprecedented landmarks in sustainability, driving towards zero waste to landfill and pioneering waste to energy innovations. His zero waste strategies have helped position Sharjah as the city with 90% landfill waste diversion, which is the highest in the Middle East, supported by advanced integrated recycling and the region’s first commercial-scale waste-to-energy plant. He has forged strategic alliances with global corporations such as Masdar, PIF, Microso, Johnson Controls, SAP, and Tesla, which have further broadened BEEAH’s potential for positive impact and innovation locally, regionally, and international.

"While this project has started in Sharjah, we plan to expand it across the UAE and the broader region in the future."
TBY talks to Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO and Vice Chairman of BEEAH, about the success of the company, new opportunities and markets, and Artificial Intelligence.
Could you please tell us about the key milestones in Sharjah’s homegrown success story?

In 2007, BEEAH was established to address environmental challenges with the vision of leading sustainable quality of life in the MENA region. Today, BEEAH has evolved into a holding group focused on forward-thinking initiatives. We are now the largest waste management company in the UAE, achieving the highest landfill diversion rate in the Middle East. Our 90% diversion rate means only 10% of waste goes to landfills, significantly reducing landfill-related emissions, which account for about 60% of the industry’s impact. We operate and own 12 different waste processing and recycling plants, including the Middle East’s first waste-to-energy plant, a joint venture with Masdar, which went live two years ago and increased our diversion rate from 76% to 90%. This success has enabled us to expand into Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where we manage waste in Medina and the New Administrative Capital, respectively. BEEAH has also diversified into other sectors: Digital, Energy, Healthcare and Real Estate. Our digital ventures are steadily expanding into new geographies. For example, EVOTEQ is partnering with the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention to track and trace medicines and ensure supply chain integrity. Another one of our digital ventures is re.life, a digital ecosystem for the development of platforms. It’s platform re.life market is used for virtual recyclables trading and re.life collect is used to transport bulky materials through “uberised” or on-demand logistics services. We are also investing in a major data center in Sharjah as part of a joint venture with the data center specialists, Khazna Data Centres, with a focus on providing sustainable, digital infrastructure. Our first energy venture was the waste-to-energy project with Masdar Emirates Waste to Energy company that I previously mentioned was the first waste to energy facility in the region. Since we have almost achieved total diversion from landfill, we are now our second energy project which is re-purposing our landfill into a solar farm that will generate 120MW of power. Our third project is a Hydrogen from Waste initiative, which will offer breakthrough technologies for hydrogen production locally and globally. We are now developing a solar landfill repurposing project with a 120MW solar farm and a waste-to-hydrogen initiative. In healthcare, we are collaborating with Mass General Brigham and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to build a state-of-the-art hospital in Sharjah, currently in the design phase. Our real estate experience, gained from constructing various facilities, including our LEED Platinum Headquarters, will soon expand as we launch new sustainable and digitalized real estate developments.

What are the key challenges and opportunities you see in these new markets?

We began our journey in Sharjah and gradually expanded to cover most of the UAE, becoming the largest waste management company in the country. Growth always comes with challenges, and our major challenge occurred while entering new markets during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This was particularly difficult in Saudi Arabia due to closed borders; however, we successfully navigated these obstacles and achieved our goals. Today, we are focused on further growth in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as these markets offer significant opportunities beyond our established dominance in the UAE. Geographic expansion is essential for continued growth, and both Saudi Arabia and Egypt are pivotal regions for us. The UAE’s clear sustainability goals have guided our efforts, and we aim to leverage our experience to collaborate with partners in these countries, to enhance alignment with local sustainability agendas, overcome challenges, and accelerate progress in waste management and other sectors.

What are some key features and recent innovations that highlight your commitment to sustainability and innovation?

Our headquarters is one of the most sustainable buildings globally, holding the highest standard for sustainability: a LEED Platinum certification. The building features a solar farm and an on-site water treatment plant. Beyond its operational functions, our headquarters serves as a cultural and public destination, hosting a variety of events throughout the year, including art galleries and community events. Having this building as our base has enabled cross-functional collaboration and innovation in all our industries of operation. It has also cultivated our dialogue with external entities and fostered new partnerships towards a climate-positive future. During COP28, we announced our latest innovation: a waste-to-hydrogen project. In partnership with Chinook Sciences and Air Water in Japan, we developed a pilot plant in Nottingham that converts municipal solid waste into hydrogen, a clean energy source and the fuel of the future. BEEAH has always prioritized innovation; we established the first waste-to-energy plant in the Middle East, and now we are pioneering another breakthrough in waste-to-energy technology. This new project is unique in that it includes a hydrogen fueling station. We plan to acquire hydrogen-powered waste collection trucks that will be fueled at the same location where they deliver waste, demonstrating our commitment to sustainable and efficient waste management.

How is the recent development of AI transforming processes in your operations?

We are heavily investing in AI across our group. Recognizing the immense value of technology, we have dedicated the last decade to integrating digital solutions. For example, one of our waste plants uses AI-powered robots for waste segregation, accurately identifying materials like plastic and aluminum through visual recognition. In street cleaning, we have equipped our collection trucks with cameras that use AI and machine learning to monitor and report on cleanliness. As the trucks drive around the city, they collect data to determine if bins are emptied and roads are clean, ensuring efficient city maintenance. Additionally, we are exploring various AI applications, from simple communication tools to advanced solutions. We are also developing an AI executive to support and empower business decisions, reflecting our commitment to innovation and efficiency.

What are the future developments in EV charging infrastructure?

As a group, we operate over 2,000 vehicles. In recent years, we have focused on investing in sustainable transport solutions. To this end, we established ION, a joint venture with Crescent Enterprises, that has made notable strides in this field, including running an electric ride-hailing platform and operating autonomous ports. Our latest initiative, in collaboration with the Sharjah government and Sharjah RTA, involves installing and managing a new EV charging network in the Emirate of Sharjah. This project aims to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles by providing the necessary infrastructure. As more charging stations become available, we expect an increase in EV usage. While this project has started in Sharjah, we plan to expand it across the UAE and the broader region in the future.

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