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Dublin Waste-to-Energy Facility Operating at Full Capacity

The Dublin Waste-to-Energy Facility at Poolbeg in Dublin Port, is operating at full capacity, providing a much-needed sustainable waste management solution and renewable energy supply for the Dublin region.

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Covanta periodically produces and distributes newsletters to inform our neighbours about recent works at the facility.  Download the latest newsletter below. 


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The Dublin Waste-to-Energy Facility at Poolbeg in Dublin Port, is operating at full capacity, providing a much-needed sustainable waste management solution and renewable energy supply for the Dublin region. The project is a Public Private Partnership between Dublin City Council (acting on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities) and Covanta, a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions.

 The facility is processing approximately 1,800 tonnes of solid waste per day, diverting post-recycled residual waste from landfills and enabling the region to become self-sufficient in managing waste and complying with EU landfill diversion targets. The facility is also reducing Ireland’s reliance on imported fossil fuel, and contributing to Ireland’s renewable energy targets, by generating 60 megawatts of continuous electricity which is exported onto the national grid – enough to power 80,000 Irish homes.

As part of the commissioning process, an independent third party testing company completed stack emissions testing for both combustion lines at the facility. The purpose of the testing was to evaluate if emissions complied with the emission limit values as set out in the licence granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Industrial Emissions Directive. Results from the testing demonstrated that the emissions were significantly below the limits required and that 99.99% of the volume leaving the stack is comprised of gases common to air including, oxygen, hydrogen nitrogen and water vapour.

In addition to these gases, trace amounts of other common gases (less than 0.01 % of the total plume emissions) are contained in the discharge from the stacks and are strictly controlled by state-of-the-art air pollution control equipment. For example, dioxins and furans measured 98.14% below licence limits and total particulate matter was determined to be 96.37% below licence limits. Additional emissions information and a summary table of the full stack test results can be viewed here.

The General Manager of the Dublin Waste-to-Energy Facility, John Daly, said that he and the facility staff are delighted to be operating at full capacity, having processed 150,000 tonnes of waste in the three months, August, September and October, and are particularly gratified with the findings of the recent independent monitoring of the plant emissions.

“The successful completion of the Performance Demonstration Test and the transition into commercial operations marks a great milestone for the Dublin facility. Testing and commissioning is a complex process, testing thousands of systems, sensors and controls in the plant, and the May to October period was devoted to testing and re-testing every part of the operation. As with any major infrastructure project, there are challenges along the way, but I’m proud of the way our team has persevered and overcome any difficulties in the commissioning process. The outstanding results from the independent emissions testing are extremely gratifying”, he said.

There are over 200 operating conditions within the EPA issued licence applying to the two processing lines at the Poolbeg facility and the work of the commissioning process includes checking, stressing and testing literally thousands of systems to ensure that these conditions can be satisfied during steady state operation.

The bulk of the waste that the facility will burn each year is delivered via the Port Tunnel, and direct deliveries are comprised only of waste collected within a narrow radius of the plant. Fixed routes are followed to limit the impact on residential areas in the vicinity of the facility.

“We  continue to strive to ensure that there is no adverse traffic impact on the local community. Indeed, there was considerably greater traffic movement in and out of the plant over the previous three year construction phase, during which the workforce peaked at well over 1,000”, Mr. Daly said.

The facility has also been designed and built with technology and infrastructure to provide energy in the form of district heating to meet the equivalent needs of over 50,000 homes. The heat could be deployed as soon as the necessary piping to homes in the area has been installed. Dublin City Council is actively examining ways and means in which this might be done.

Under the planning conditions for the Poolbeg plant, Covanta has also contributed to a Community Gain Fund which is being administered for social and community projects in the catchment area of Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount.  In addition to an opening capital contribution of €10.4 million made by the company, Covanta will also contribute €1 (index linked) for every tonne of waste burned at the Poolbeg plant over the 45 year plant licence period. To date, a total of 32 organisations in the catchment area have been allocated €4.8 million, and further capital grants will be awarded in the coming months. More information on the fund and recipients can be found here.

An independent third party testing company recently completed stack emissions testing for both combustion lines at the Dublin Waste to Energy facility. The purpose of the testing was to evaluate if emissions complied with the emission limit values (ELV) as set out in the facility’s licence that was granted by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and was required as a component of the facility commissioning process. Results from the testing demonstrated that the emissions were significantly below the limits required. Highlights include: Dioxins and Furans - 98.14% below licence limits and Total Particulate Matter - 96.37% beneath licence limits. A summary table of the results can be downloaded at the link below.

Download Results

There was a limited release of lime-ash in an internal room in the Poolbeg facility, on June 7th last, during ongoing testing and commissioning at the plant. Covanta’s investigation at the time concluded that the release was due to an incorrectly fitted hopper door gasket by its construction and commissioning contractor, Hitachi Zosen Inova AG (HZI). The incident is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Health and Safety Authority. It was confirmed by the EPA that there was no danger to the public arising from this incident.

There are over 212 operating conditions applying to each of the two processing lines at the Poolbeg plant, and the work of the past four months includes checking and testing all these conditions as part of bringing the plant into full, uninterrupted operation. This is industry best practice and typical protocol in the start-up of any new facility.

Overall, the new plant is performing extremely well and the testing and commissioning phase is expected to conclude in the first half of October.

Covanta wishes to re-state its absolute commitment to the safety of its workers, contractors, and the community, and continues to work with its neighbours and the appropriate authorities to demonstrate this enduring commitment.

On 22 August, the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility’s turbine generator was successfully connected and synchronized to the electrical grid. Initially, the turbine generator will operate at a reduced capacity, generating enough electricity to power plant operations while further testing is completed. At full output, the facility will generate approximately 60 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 80,000 area homes. Additional commissioning and testing of the facility continues to progress on schedule.

Dublin Waste to Energy will shortly commence waste firing on Line 2. This is scheduled to take place over this coming weekend. Further updates will be available in due course.

Waste processing has resumed today at the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility on Boiler 1. Further updates will be provided as testing and commissioning progresses.

Following a detailed review of safety procedures and operations at the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility, currently being commissioned by Covanta and its construction and commissioning contractor, Hitachi Zosen Inova AG (HZI), the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has allowed the recommencement of facility testing and operations.

The review by the independent State body arose after a limited release of lime-ash in an internal room in the Poolbeg facility (on June 7th). Covanta’s investigation has concluded that the release was due to an incorrectly fitted hopper door gasket by HZI. It has been confirmed, by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that there was no danger to the public arising from this incident.

Covanta wishes to re-state its absolute commitment to the safety of our workers, our contractors, and the community, and will continue to work with our neighbours and the appropriate authorities to demonstrate this enduring commitment.

After a thorough review of operating procedures related to environmental compliance, the EPA has also allowed the recommencement of hot commissioning and waste processing is anticipated to restart in the coming days.

Update 3

13 June

Covanta and our contractor responsible for construction and commissioning, Hitachi Zosen Inova, are co-operating fully with the Health and Safety Authority and other appropriate authorities to establish the factors that led to the incident at the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility on June 7th.

After investigation, it has been determined that a gasket was installed incorrectly on doors leading to the fabric filter baghouse. This led to the release of lime-ash through a small opening in the door seals which was contained inside the flue gas treatment area. The EPA has confirmed that there was no environmental impact and that there is no danger to the public as a result of this event.

At the time of the incident, there were a number of workers in an adjacent area. As a precaution, since this was a health and safety incident, contractors that were working in the area were driven to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation and they have all been released.

Covanta is committed to carry out any steps necessary that will demonstrate to the public and the appropriate authorities that the facility is safe. We are actively working to prevent an incident like this from occurring again. The safety of our employees and contractors on site is of paramount importance to Covanta.

Meanwhile, a licensed third party has completed a clean-up of the affected area and only general construction activity will proceed on the site at this time.

Update 2

9 June

Late on Wednesday night a small amount of lime-ash was inadvertently released inside the flue gas treatment area during the commissioning and testing of the Dublin Waste to Energy facility.

At the time of the incident, there were a number of workers in an adjacent area. As a precaution, they were sent to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation. The majority were released immediately after evaluation while two others underwent further observation and have since been released.

Combustion Unit No. 1, which was operating at the time, was shut down immediately. The lime was contained within the building and did not escape into the environment and the incident had no impact whatsoever outside the plant. The EPA has confirmed that there is no danger to the public.

We continue to investigate this matter in full co-operation with the appropriate authorities and will provide further updates in the coming days.

Update 1

June 8

Late on Wednesday night a small amount of lime-ash was inadvertently released inside the flue gas treatment area during the commissioning and testing of the Dublin Waste to Energy plant at Ringsend.

At the time, there were a number of workers in an adjacent area. As a precaution, eleven workers were sent to St. Vincent’s Hospital nearby for medical evaluation. Two were detained overnight.

Combustion Unit No. 1, which was operating at the time, was shut down in an orderly and controlled manner. The lime was contained within the building and did not escape into the environment and the incident had no impact whatsoever outside the plant.

Both the EPA and the Health & Safety Authority were notified of the incident, and the company is co-operating fully with them.

The safety of our employees and contractors is of utmost importance to Covanta and we are investigating the incident thoroughly.

We are investigating to understand what exactly occurred, but it appears from preliminary investigation that the release of the lime was due to a problem with a door seal in the fabric filter baghouse.

Late on Thursday 1 June 2017, the Dublin Waste to Energy facility reached the important “first fire” milestone, meaning that waste was treated for the first time. At this time, waste is only being processed in Boiler #1, with Boiler #2 to follow shortly. During this initial phase of operation the plant will start-up and shut-down on several occasions as system optimization tests are carried out. This is normal during the start-up of a plant of this nature. The plant will continue to take waste for treatment at a steady rate during this period. Over the coming months, waste volumes accepted will be increased as the facility reaches optimal performance and is synchronized to the electrical grid. Full commercial operation is expected to be achieved in the autumn of 2017.

Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd. will resume waste acceptance on Friday 26th May 2017, with first fire on waste planned in the coming days. Should you have any queries or concerns please email ENVDublin@covanta.com or call (01) 603 2100 (Dial 0 to speak with a staff member).

Steam blowing is now complete and the relevant equipment to enable part of the hot commissioning has been dismantled. Hot commissioning will continue this week using oil only to fire the burners. This will happen later today and steam will be visible emanating from the start-up vent on the roof. This will continue into Thursday and Friday. No waste will be treated this week. A further update will be posted closer to first fire of waste.

The steam blows referred to in the previous progress update have now been completed. During this part of the commissioning program only fuel oil was used for the heating of the boilers. No waste has been treated to-date. The small quantities of waste received at the site has been used for the purpose of commissioning the weighbridge and the cranes. Dublin Waste to Energy will send out a further information bulletin closer to when first fire of waste will commence.

For all enquiries concerning the plant, please call 01-6032100 (select option 0) or email ENVDublin@covanta.com

Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd would like to notify members of the public of our hot commissioning works over the coming weeks.

The works over the coming days and weeks will be as follows:

  • Dry out of Refractory bricks on the boilers using temporary oil burners. This will continue for approximately 48 hours after commencement of the process during which time steam will be emitted from the facility.
  • Following the boil outs the boiler tubes and piping will need to be cleaned out using steam. Steam will be visible from the facility and there may also be some noise associated with this operation.

During these works no waste will be delivered and/or treated at the plant.We have now put in place an email address for the public to communicate directly with the plant ENVDublin@covanta.com.