Young Saudi converts date palm trees waste into coal, firewood

Updated 22 July 2013
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Young Saudi converts date palm trees waste into coal, firewood

A young Saudi has successfully implemented a plan to convert remnants of date palm trees into firewood and coal, optimizing the use of the fruit through an environmentally friendly initiative.
Muqbil Al-Khalaf, CEO and founder of the project, was recently awarded the prize for the Industrial Innovation Award, receiving SR500,000 from Tawfiq Al-Rabia, minister of commerce and industry, for his innovative project.
The project was sponsored and funded by the Badir Program for technology incubators at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).
The event was organized by the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon), which aims to promote the local industrial sector and encourage Saudi innovators to convert their ideas into promising industrial projects.
Al-Khalaf graduated from King Fahad University for Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and entered the labor market as a banker. He later engaged in the wholesale clothing business in Riyadh and Dubai. He entered the market when the stock market was booming but incurred heavy losses, which prompted him to shift to the date palm business.
Al-Khalaf said he noted that date palm waste was thrown away or burned in farms. He wanted to find a way to re-use this colossal waste. He said he was inspired by an article written by a Malaysian scientist regarding the Malaysian experience in transforming natural waste to paper.
In 2011, he began establishing the plant with the intent of converting date palm remnants. The following year, he began setting up the plant in Zulfi, which became the first plant of its kind in the Kingdom and the Middle East.
He finally obtained funding from the Kafala Program, which promised to cover 30 percent of the cost with an interest rate of 13 percent, after being turned down for funding by the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF). He had also consulted the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), but was told that they only fund projects worth more than SR8 million.
Al-Khalaf said he initially faced challenges when the Chinese company that he had initially hired to work on the project left without completing the project. He has since received a $100,000 compensation package.
The experimental operation of the plant began in December 2012 and has so far produced 60 tons of firewood and 40 tons of charcoal, using 190 tons of date palm tree remnants. The products were sold at competitive prices, Al-Khalaf said.
He said the plant is operating at only 15 percent design capacity and projected to reach about a 40-percent production capacity with the approach of winter. Upon reaching its maximum capacity, the plant will require 12,000 tons of date tree waste to produce 3,500 tons of firewood and coal per year, he said. There are 600,000 date palm trees in the Zulfi area alone, which is sufficient to feed the plant with its required raw material throughout the year, he said.


Saudi police arrest father who tortured his daughter in viral video 

Updated 22 September 2019

Saudi police arrest father who tortured his daughter in viral video 

  • A police statement pointed to “the video segment circulated on social media of a man torturing his three-year-old girl"
  • The statement said the man is in his forties and of Palestinian origin

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian police said that its has arrested a man seen horrifically beating his own child in a video that went viral, triggering massive outrage.  

Local reports said Sunday that a police statement pointed to “the video segment circulated on social media of a man torturing his three-year-old girl, has led to a process of searching and investigating to identify him.”

The statement said the man, who is in his forties and of Palestinian origin, “was arrested at the Dar al-Bayda neighborhood, south of Riyadh.”

It added that necessary care will be provided to his four children, with coordination with relevant authorities. 

Viral footage has shown the father while harshly beating his young daughter and mercilessly slapping her on the face. 

The video has shocked viewers inside and outside the kingdom, with many calling on authorities to arrest him.