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Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has designated a station at Sabkha Marine Transport Station to supply biofuel to traditional Abras operating on Dubai Creek from July.

The decision follows a successful trial operation last year where five traditional Abras were fulled powered by Biodiesel 5, which is officially certified in the UAE, in collaboration with ENOC Group. The fuel is manufactured from vegetable oils as well as residues of cooking and animal oils.

Abras carry about 13 million passengers each year, which constitutes about 90% of total marine transport use in Dubai. Traditional Abras are currently fitted with 30 hp diesel engines that consume about 1.1 million litres of fuel each year.

‘To encourage traditional Abra operators to use the biofuel for their Abras, we offered them a discounted price for biodiesel, compared with the price of regular diesel, in coordination with ENOC Group,’ said Mohammed Abu Bakr Al Hashmi, Director of Marine Transport, Public Transport Agency, RTA.

‘This initiative stems from RTA’s standing commitment to have a vital role in implementing the UAE Green Growth Strategy, and accordingly contribute to the fruition of the UAE Vision 2021. The initiative is based on using clean and environmentally-friendly biofuel to reduce the carbon footprint and harmful emissions to protect the public health.’

He continued: ‘We had implemented the procedures required to measure the results of using biofuel to power traditional Abras compared with the use of regular diesel. For this purpose, we had powered the same traditional Abras by biodiesel and regular diesel alternately. The results were positive and no negative effects were recorded on the engines as a result of using biofuels. ENOC Group had appointed a specialised company as a neutral party to evaluate the results of the experiment.

‘The use of biofuel to power traditional Abras of the private sector operating on Dubai Creek is optional. However, with the discount on the price of biofuels, courtesy of ENOC Group, we expect Abra operators to opt for clean fuel. It is confirmed that RTA would not bear any expenses in this regard.’

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