Look: This Emirati is collecting used cooking oil to fuel vehicles in UAE

He has built a company that is now known as the largest collector of used cooking oil in the country, and he has been working hard towards a big dream: To see every fuel station in the UAE make biofuel available


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Thu 10 Aug 2023, 10:55 AM

Last updated: Sun 13 Aug 2023, 3:06 PM

An Emirati entrepreneur, who is a strong advocate of circular economy, has found a way to turn a common waste into alternative fuel: He collects used cooking oil from big companies and refines them, producing biodiesel to power fleets of trucks and other vehicles. He also exports clean fuel to the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and India.

Circular economy is simply reusing products, rather than scrapping them and then extracting new resources. And this is what Yousif Bin Saeed Al Lootah, 32, founder and CEO of Lootah Biofuels, has been doing for more than a decade.

He has been helping UAE companies increase their use of biodiesel in fleet management as a way of improving their corporate sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

Renewable alternative

“The inspiration to start a biofuel venture came to me when our family business SS Lootah Group established its green car programme," he told Khaleej Times.

"I realised that the significant reduction of emissions could be through the use of alternative fuels in the fleet of diesel trucks in our unit in Al Quoz. I started researching and collecting data, and biodiesel blends emerged as a possible answer."

Used cooking oil or UCO-based biodiesel is a renewable alternative to traditional petroleum-based diesel fuel, he explained. "In fact, a five per cent biodiesel blend can be used in cars without any modifications."

Lootah Biofuels was established in 2010 — at a time when nobody was thinking about such alternatives in the region since the cost of fossil fuel was fairly low compared to Europe.

But that did not deter Lootah from pushing ahead with his venture to develop viable alternative fuel that is affordable for companies to use in their fleets. His business expanded and Lootah Biofuels factory, which has a capacity to supply 100,000 litres of biodiesel per day, was inaugurated at Dubai Industrial City last year.

Largest collector

“We are currently the UAE’s largest collector of UCO," Lootah noted. "We collect used cooking oil from Jumeirah Group, Emaar Hospitality, Rotana Group, Majid Al Futtaim, Atlantis The Palm, Americana Group, Alshaya Group, Chinese Palace Restaurant Group, Kamat and Gazebo Restaurants and Modern Bakery. In a year, we produce 60 million litres of biofuel, and last year, we have contributed to reducing more than 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide."

The factory at Dubai Industrial City is currently operating between 50 and 80 per cent of its capacity, and it can supply biodiesel at local petrol stations.

Biofuel is a promising alternative to meet climate change goals to limit global warming to 1.5°C by reducing emissions, Lootah said.

“But the key to increasing demand is in making them accessible,” he underscored, adding: “This is where fuel stations and leading petroleum suppliers will play a significant role. Wider adoption will also encourage innovation in the production and sales of biofuel.”

Green energy

Lootah also has a message for the upcoming COP28 in Dubai: “We proudly represent the success of the waste-to-energy/green energy concept. I look forward to interacting with global experts and gaining knowledge from research, innovation, and cutting-edge technologies that may create a sustainable biofuel revolution in the region.

“Most of all, I want to see every fuel station in the country make biofuel available. Retailers are crucial in pushing the energy diversification strategy, and they directly interact with end users. The first step towards net zero for the transportation sector will be decarbonising heavy and commercial transport. Alternative fuels like biofuel are the key to this, especially as fossil fuel prices have become highly volatile.”


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