Dubai’s ‘green’ petrol station is first in the Middle East
Dubai - Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), which operates a network of more than 112 service stations in Dubai and the northern Emirates, has set up a “green” petrol station in Dubai, a first in the Middle East.
“The green initiative was first announced in January 2011. Today, the 7,432-sq.-metre, full-service site in the Greens neighbourhood of Dubai provides a range of unique eco-friendly features,” said ENOC Retail Managing Director Burhan al-Hashemi. “It is in line with the emirate’s Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative and UAE’s Vision 2021.”
The green petrol station has several eco-friendly features, including a vapour recovery system, noise barrier, power-saving chillers, car wash water recycling, solar-powered lighting, waste compacter and environment-friendly paint. Additional steps taken include light-emitting diodes (LED) lights, motion light sensors, water aerators and waterless urinals.
The vapour recovery system, converts gaseous emissions to liquid and effectively eliminates the release of petrol fumes.
In 2015, more than 85 million people visited the ENOC Group’s service stations across Dubai and the northern Emirates, according to figures released by the company. The group announced plans in March to increase capacity by 40%, including the construction of 54 stations in Dubai.
Once eco-friendly features are employed across the network, the effect is bound to be immense in terms of health, safety and environmental sustainability, Hashemi said.
“We were able to save 1,585,435 kilowatt hours of energy from 2012 to 2015,” he said. “We are still gaining benefits of the green station since its inception but the benefits are varied. For example, the use of LED lights was rolled out over 53 stations during this period resulting in a reduction of carbon footprint by 909.44 metric tonnes.”
Osama Hassan Mekki, ENOC’s environmental, health and safety (EHS) manager, said: “We have looked into significant areas of environmental impact like emissions by introducing the first trial of the vapour recovery system.”
Vapour emissions, he said, occur when petrol is loaded to the station’s holding tanks and while vehicles are being fuelled. “At these stages, you do not have any control, with highest amount of emissions occurring in the first phase,” Mekki said.
“The vapour recovery system we have installed is a very costly technology and we are still assessing and evaluating this system in terms of the cost. It requires careful study before we roll it out across our network.”
The second initiative relates to air conditioning units that consume huge amounts of electricity.
“We have a new system called VRF (variable refrigerant flow) in which, on the compressor side, the unit will respond according to the demand, and helps save a lot in terms of electricity consumption,” Mekki said. “After trying it out at the green petrol station, we have rolled it out across the group’s network and [it} has become part of the retail engineering standards. All the new stations will have this in place.”
Another area is the car wash facility, which recycles 75-85% of the water it uses, he said.
Since the pilot green petrol station is in a residential area, noise pollution was a concern “so we have placed sound barriers which prevent transmission of sound outside the perimeter of the petrol station,” Mekki said.
Most of the initiatives have been added to the group’s other petrol stations.
“We are now working closely with the Dubai Municipality to ensure that all our petrol stations have valid environmental site assessment based on environmental baseline studies,” Mekki said.
All ENOC petrol station sites are equipped with ground monitoring wells to check for spills and seepage. All underground tanks are double-walled.
Another technology that has been introduced is an auto gauging system, which means that staff members do not have to check the level of petrol by making a manual dip. It will be displayed on a panel in the control room where supervisors can monitor it. “And in case of any leakage, it can be detected since it is linked to sensors,” said Mekki.
Hashemi said the positive reaction to the green service station encouraged ENOC to study additional ways to implement successful elements into other service stations.
“The stations will feature solar panels which will be installed onto the main canopies to generate power,” he said.