Submission date for Oman biodiesel project extended to Aug 31

Oman Environmental Services Holding Company SAOC (be’ah), the Sultanate’s solid waste management flagship, has announced a two-week extension in the deadline for the submission of proposals from interested investors in a landmark project that seeks to convert used-cooking oil (UCO) into environmentally friendly biodiesel.

Offers, originally due by August 16, may now be handed in by August 31, 2020, the state-run utility said in an email to companies that had registered their interest in the initiative.

Last month, be’ah invited interest investors to prequalify for a competitive tender leading to the award of a contract for the management and recycling of UCO in the Sultanate.  The initiative is expected to lead to the production and sale of biodiesel in Oman, said be’ah.

“The purpose of this pre-qualification document is to assess international and local interest from developers with relevant experience to manage the collection and/or the treatment of generated (used cooking oil) from local generators to be utilised as feedstock into biodiesel production, on a Design, build, own and operate (DBOO) basis,” it stated. The utility is allocating a 25,000 sq metre plot of land within the Barka landfill for the establishment of the biodiesel facility.

According to studies by researchers and experts, significant quantities of used cooking oil are produced daily as part of food preparations across an array of sectors and institutions in the Sultanate. They include hotels, restaurants, fast food outlets, school cafeterias, catering companies, camps and even residential homes. While a portion of this waste is collected by firms for onward export to overseas-based recyclers, the remainder is understood to be disposed of in drains and landfills. Additionally, there are concerns that waste cooking oil is being resold to the detriment of public health.

In response to queries from interested bidders, be’ah clarified that it is currently in the process of “assessing” the quantity of used cooking oil that may become available as feedstock for conversion into biodiesel.

Asked by bidders for details of “organisations, companies, factories and other establishments” that may have committed to providing be’ah with their waste oil output, the state-owned holding company noted: “As of now, be’ah currently has no commitments with any entities working in the UCO stream; however, be’ah is working in close collaboration with the ministries to force all commercial UCO generators to register with be’ah for a collection system. This will be initiated in phases starting with Muscat Governorate.”

be’ah also pointed out that it would support successful bidders in tying up with “potential biodiesel off-takers”, but would leave it open to the bidders themselves to forge alliances with off-takers of their own choosing.

Separately, an Omani technological initiative dubbed Wakud has announced that it is pressing ahead with the establishment of a facility for recycling waste cooking oil into biofuels at Khazaen Economic City near Barka.

Wakud has roped in UK-based biofuels specialist Green Fuels as a joint venture partner in the project. Green Fuels is a pioneer in renewable fuels founded in 2003 and has supplied biofuel equipment with aggregate capacity equating to $500bn in fuel sales to customers in more than 80 countries.