Anantara Hotels and the Future of Food Waste: LFC biodigesters in Dubai

April 19, 2023

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — The Anantara Palm Dubai Resort is a luxury, Thai inspired resort located on the east crescent of the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai’s man-made palm shaped archipelagos.

This hotel offers 294 rooms and villas overlooking temperature lagoons. They are the only hotel to offer over-water villas in the UAE. Amenities include free breakfast, access to seven restaurants and bars, a private beach, spa services, Turkish baths and a fitness center.

The Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort is a resort located on its own island four kilometers into the Arabian Gulf. This luxury resort offers 70 rooms, suites, and villas with ocean view, beach access, and private pools. Guests start their journey by boat from the Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort to get to The Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort.

Traditional waste management is either not possible or costly, due to the hotels’ unique locations. Both hotels would ship food waste to shore where it would be transported to compost or landfill sites. This was expensive, labor intensive, and a non-scalable waste management solution. The engineering team and general manager began searching for alternative solutions. In late 2022, LFC-500 biodigesters were installed in each hotel. 

The Real Deal about Marine Debris

The Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort is located on the World Islands, an artificial archipelago made up of sand dredged from Dubai’s shallow coastal waters.

Each island was originally going to have utilities routed underwater through cables with water plants at each hub to pump fresh water. However, no cables have yet been laid.

Each developer currently has to provide power from their own diesel generators and manage their own wastewater and refuse system.

It is highly illegal to dump any contaminants into the water. The UAE Federal Law No. 24 of 1999 on the Protection and Development of the Environment prohibits the following:

  • Any intentional disposal of pollutants or wastes from ships, aircraft or any other means into the marine environment
  • Any deliberate dumping from ships or industrial installations or other means into the marine environment.

To comply with these strict standards, the Anantara World Island regularly contracts barge ships to carry their waste out to shore. A majority of their outgoing trash consisted of organic waste. This method is not scalable for long term growth and incurs heavy costs.

The engineering team and general manager wanted to find a solution that could take care of the waste on the island with minimal impact on the environment. They reached out to Power Knot Middle East who introduced them to the LFC biodigester: a food waste biodigester that would take care of organic waste with the help of microorganisms.

The Key Voyage to a Greener Hotel

The LFC-500 biodigester was installed in Anantara World Island in August 2022. A second LFC-500 biodigester was installed in Anantara The Palm later that year. The LFC-500 biodigesters each can dispose of 175–1500 kg (380–3300 lb) of food waste each 24 hours with no noise or odor. This has drastically reduced the amount of waste being sent to landfills. In turn, this has greatly reduced costs of transporting waste back to mainland Dubai. Less transportation has also resulted in less pollution from the consumption of fossil fuels.

Microorganisms in the machine digest the waste and turn it into grey water which goes into the hotel’s sewage treatment plant (STP) system. From the STP, the grey water is filtered and reused as irrigation for the plants in the surrounding landscaping. 

The LFC biodigester helped both Anantara hotels win the Green Key Certification award for introducing a new waste management method with a circular economy. The Anantara hotels are looking to model their waste management after Microsoft Dubai and install solar panels to power the machine.

“The LFC biodigester has played a key role in helping the Anantara hotels achieve Green Key Certification,” said Shakeel Khaleel, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing at Power Knot Middle East. “It has completely eliminated the need to transport food waste to shore. The Anantara hotels can now take care of their food waste onsite with minimal impact to the environment.”

Pictured left to right: Iain Milnes, president of Power Knot, Michael Pearson Executive Chef, James Hewitson General Manager, and Radhika Arapally, the consultant who worked with Anantara and Power Knot.