A new contender to the energy-from-waste (EfW) market in the UK aims to offer local authorities a “risk-free” solution by managing the whole process from start to finish. With each new plant, Covanta Energy designs, builds, finances, owns and operates the entire facility.

The US-based company opened a British office in the West Midlands last year and aims to be play a major part in the UK EfW market over the next few years. By managing the whole process from design to operation, and by maintaining ownership, Covanta says it can take on all the risk so that this burden doesn’t fall onto the local authority.

It also eliminates the need for turnkey contractors, which brings down the cost of the development, and enables Covanta to guarantee service quality levels as all work is controlled and monitored by its own staff.

Global track record

Covanta claims to be the largest EfW company operating in the US, larger by 50% than its nearest rival. It operates 32 sites worldwide and is responsible for processing 15 million tonnes of waste every year. The company has been operating in the EfW industry for over 20 years, during which time it has made numerous improvements to existing plants as well as investing in new ones.

The firm’s Niagara facility in the Greater Niagara Falls/Buffalo region of New York State, constructed in 1980, processes 800,000 tonnes of waste annually. Steam generated is sold to adjacent chemical facilities and electricity produced is sold to the Niagara Mohawk Power Company. Covanta says it pays a great deal of attention to health and safety – 14 of its plants have achieved US occupational safety & health administration (OSHA) standards.

The company adds that its EfW solution is flexible and compatible with a wide range of front-end pre-treatment solutions, so that existing infrastructures can be maintained. As American EfW plants tend to be larger than their traditional British counterparts this can be beneficial to UK authorities.

Covanta says it is happy to build over-size facilities at the start of a contract. This can provide LAs with three advantages: firstly it offers the benefit of economies of scale to produce lower disposal costs; secondly it provides the potential to trade LATS allowances; thirdly it can contribute to dealing with locally produced commercial and industrial waste.

Covanta Energy


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