- Covanta's Dublin waste-to-energy facility, located at Poolbeg in Ireland's Dublin Port, has completed a final performance demonstration test and reached full operational status. This means the facility is now processing 1,800 metric tons of solid waste per day and generating 60 megawatts of electricity. Between August and September it has already processed 150,000 metric tons.
- According to Covanta, independent testing found that emissions of dioxins and furans were 98.14% below license limits. Total particulate matter was 96.37% below license limits. Regularly updated emissions data is available on the company's website.
- This news came shortly after the company was given two months to respond to six counts of allegedly breaking license conditions set by Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency, as reported by TheJournal.ie. The charges are related to a lime leak incident and other procedural issues in June. Covanta has until Feb. 5 to respond.
This is a major milestone for Covanta after years of construction, and a temporary interruption back in June. Multiple workers were briefly hospitalized after a lime cloud was released in the flue gas treatment area. While operations resumed soon after, that led to swift reaction from local authorities such as the Dublin City Council and Ireland's EPA.
In its press release, Covanta emphasized the precautions being taken to limit the effects of truck traffic and highlighted the potential benefits of this facility. A primary change is that the region no longer has to export waste to mainland Europe. Other benefits include electricity for 80,000 homes and, if necessary piping is installed, eventually district heating for 50,000 local households. The company has also donated €10.4 million ($12.4 million USD) and will give €1 per ton of waste processed to a community fund.
The ongoing progress on this Dublin facility has been a regular talking point in earnings calls throughout the year, and has served as a counterpoint to delays with reopening the company's facility in Fairfax County, VA after a fire. Next up, Covanta expects construction of its Rookery project — being developed with Veolia — to begin in the first half of 2018. The company is also pursuing two more U.K. projects with Biffa.