UAE biodiesel firm announces world first breakthrough

Neutral Fuels has announced that it has become the first company in the world to commercialise an enzymatic biodiesel, changing the nature of renewable fuels in the UAE and wider region.
Neutral Fuels CEO Karl Feilder (right) accepting the award for Energy Supply Chain of the Year at the Logistics Middle East Awards.
Neutral Fuels CEO Karl Feilder (right) accepting the award for Energy Supply Chain of the Year at the Logistics Middle East Awards.

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Neutral Fuels, the UAE-based biodiesel producer, has announced that it has become the first company in the world to commercialise an enzymatic biodiesel, changing the nature of renewable fuels in the UAE and wider region.

Neutral Fuels has for the last six years been producing biodiesel using used cooking oil, with some of its most high-profile clients including McDonalds UAE, which runs a renewably-fuelled fleet of logistics trucks through its contract with Neutral Fuels.

However, according to Neutral Fuels CEO Karl Feilder, they have consistently faced a challenge in sourcing good quality used cooking oil.

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“What we’ve found is that the growth of Neutral Fuels is being hampered by the supply of good quality cooking oil. Much of the waste cooking oil in the UAE isn’t of great quality, and it’s therefore difficult to make good quality biodiesel from it,” he explains.

“We’ve spent three years trying to encourage companies to improve the quality of their waste, but realised two years ago that we were wasting our time. So we’ve done better chemistry and we’re actually the first company in the world to commercialise what’s called an enzymatic biodiesel,” Feilder adds.

What this means is that Neutral Fuels has developed a way of using a strain of enzyme derived from the fungus that grows on a soy bean to allow it to process bad used cooking oil into good biodiesel. It is the first company of its kind in the world to do this.

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“Last week we produced 10,000 litres, which is a pioneering step for us and great for the environment,” says Feilder, who foresees the development having a major impact on the adoption of renewable fuels in the logistics and wider transport industries.

“Last year we grew 40%, and this year we’re going to double, and it’s astounding the level of uptake we’re now seeing,” he says.