Young Saudi converts date palm trees waste into coal, firewood

Updated 22 July 2013

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 program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

  • Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation (IPDC) on Wednesday launched the Dialogue Program 2020 among religious leaders and organizations in the Arab world.

KAICIID secretary-general, Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, said the center aims to enhance the culture of dialogue and coexistence, and highlight the value of human diversity.

He said the center also lays the foundations of understanding and collaboration among all religions and cultures, and highlights the importance of building a diverse culture.

The center provides sustainable solutions for today’s challenges, he added.

“Serious dialogue can enhance the role of interreligious institutions, helping to promote a culture of dialogue, coexistence and tolerance in society,” he said. “The message of the center addresses all humankind and not a specific society.”

The terrorist events that ripped through the region were the result of fanaticism and hatred, he said, noting that people of all diverse and multiple backgrounds can coexist peacefully in society.

“Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions. The Document of Madinah included a comprehensive constitution that guides people of different religious backgrounds on how to live together peacefully and practice their religion freely, and, most importantly, enhance the values of coexistence, justice, security and peace among one another,” he added.

Bin Muaammar called on those who have the capability to fight the discourse of extremism, saying that dialogue can enhance “human principles and values such as mercy, respect, tolerance, peace and social solidarity.”

He also urged religious leaders and institutions, as well as policymakers, to promote such values and strengthen comprehensive citizenship.

“Those leaders and institutions can fight and confront the threats facing peaceful coexistence and tolerance, threats that are posed by extreme groups,” he said. “Religious institutions should enhance the culture of common citizenship, each in their society.”

KAICIID contributes to such efforts through its experience and collaboration with relevant institutions around the world.

The Dialogue Program 2020 promotes dialogue, common citizenship and coexistence in the Arab world through cooperation in a range of projects. It also challenges messages of hate locally, nationally and regionally.