Rookery South ERF Plant, the 12th of its Kind Built by HZI in the UK, Handed Over to Client

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Rookery South ERF Plant, the 12th of its Kind Built by HZI in the UK, Handed Over to Client

After less than three years of construction, the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility has successfully completed its commissioning phase and has been handed over to the operator, Covanta, within the original contractually agreed schedule. The facility will handle over 545,000 t/a of non-recyclable residual waste and generate more than 60 MW of electricity. It will also enable a reduction in CO2 emissions and the recovery of large quantities of metals compared with ongoing landfilling.

Stewartby, United Kingdom. The new Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, located on a former brickworks site on the outskirts of Stewartby, Bedfordshire, in England, entered full commercial operation on 16 January 2022. This is less than three years after notice to proceed, even though operations were severely impacted by the Covid pandemic. Rookery South ERF is capable of handling over 545,000 tonnes of non-recyclable residual waste to generate electricity to power local homes and businesses. The plant will produce over 60 megawatts of baseload electrical energy – enough to power the equivalent of more than 112,500 homes.

Thermal treatment of the waste ensures that it no longer has to go into landfill. This is beneficial in numerous ways, especially when it comes to avoiding the corresponding CH4 emissions at landfills; CH4 is a gas with a GHG impact 84 times greater than CO2 over 20 years. It also enables metals to be recovered by means of residue treatment, avoiding the need for new mining, which also has a positive impact on global CO2 emissions while ensuring a full circular economy. The handover of Rookery South ERF makes this facility the 12th of its kind fully commissioned by HZI in the UK since its first UK project, Jersey L3, in 1992. HZI is currently constructing another four comparable UK projects.

Joined Forces for Increased Energy Efficiency
Owen Michaelson, President of Covanta Europe, said: “On behalf of the Covanta construction team that oversaw the management of the contract, I want to thank HZI and the many Covanta employees who spent lockdown on site to safely complete the construction and commissioning phases of Rookery South ERF.”

Between 2019 and 2022, during the construction and commissioning phases, the project has created over 500 jobs, and now employs over 60 new personnel in full-time operational roles. The project has also been benefiting the local community in many ways. Operational supply chain contracts have been awarded to local businesses, and the facility will help the UK to divert non-recyclable waste from landfill sites, enabling the country to become self-sufficient in managing its own waste. Moreover, a community trust fund and a dedicated woodland creation fund have been opened along with the project with the aim of providing both on- and off-site plantings.

Complex Projects Require a Strong Team
Daniel Wiget, Senior Project Director at HZI, said: “With Brexit and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Rookery South ERF has proven to be like no other project in recent times. The engineering and execution expertise of HZI, the support of various local and international contractors and suppliers, along with the Covanta project team, have enabled an invaluable collaborative approach despite the challenging conditions. This has made it possible for the project not only to proceed without hindrance, but also to be completed safely and on schedule”.

The plant has now entered the two-year warranty phase.


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