In what may be a first for biofuel production, the United Emirates arm of McDonald's Corp and privately held Neutral Fuels LLC have formed a joint venture to produce biodiesel using recycled vegetable oil from the global fast-food chain's outlets in the UAE, the companies have announced.
The venture involves the Gulf nation's first plant licensed to make biodiesel, the partners said at a news conference in Dubai on Saturday. The facility in Dubai will have an annual output capacity of 1 million litres (264,000 gallons).
''We are taking away the need to import diesel,'' said Karl Feilder, chairman of the Neutral Group, the Dubai-based parent company of Neutral Fuels. Biodiesel from the factory in Dubai, the second-largest emirate in the Gulf, will supply a limited number of companies at first and won't be available for wider sale, Feilder said.
McDonald's UAE uses more than 20,000 litres of vegetable oil at 90 restaurants in the Emirates, and managing director Rafic Fakih said it will convert all its delivery trucks to biodiesel as part of the programme.
Fakih and Feilder declined to estimate the venture's cost or the savings they expected it to generate.
The UAE, which produces about 7 per cent of the world's oil supply, has invested heavily in clean-energy technology as it seeks to diversify its economy away from crude hydrocarbons.
One could hope that the fast-food chain brings this innovation to India – with the world's largest population of vegetarians or 'vegans', the country's McDonald's outlets probably produce far more waste vegetable oil than the UAE!