Waste-to-Energy Resources in Saudi Arabia

Waste-to-Energy projects can serve a dual purpose for the Kingdom: reducing waste volumes to be treated or stored, and producing useful energy in a climate-friendly manner.  The waste streams of significant quantity in Saudi Arabia that could be harnessed for renewable energy consist largely of:

  1. Municipal waste (MSW)
  2. Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) by-products
  3. Industrial and agricultural organic waste


Examples of Facts and Figures on Waste in Saudi Arabia


Preliminary studies of waste-to-energy potential in Saudi Arabia by researchers at King Saud University in Riyadh indicate immense potential despite limited data availability.  MSW generation was estimated to be 1.75 kg per capita per day in 2012, and growing rapidly.  Populations are relatively concentrated, with more than 75% of the population of approximately 29 million people concentrated in urban areas.  The figure to the left shows the approximate composition of MSW in Saudi Arabia.

This study also cited wastewater generation rates of 80-200 liters per person per day in Saudi Arabia, and overall sewage generation of 450,000 mper day in 2012.  Major contributors to industrial and agricultural organic waste include sludge from waste-water purification from dairies, along with olive oil, beef and veal meat, and wheat and barley production waste products.


Source: KSU, 2013