Construction underway for Ireland's first bottom ash processing plant

Encyclis and Beauparc have announced a partnership to build Ireland’s first processing plant for bottom ash from the waste-to-energy process.
Construction underway for Ireland's first bottom ash processing plant
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Cover image: Knockharley

Encyclis and Beauparc have announced a partnership to build Ireland’s first processing plant for bottom ash from the waste-to-energy process.

The €35 million purpose-built plant, located at the Knockharley waste management complex on the outskirts of Dublin, is due to be completed in 2025. This localised solution for the processing of bottom ash from Encyclis' Dublin Waste to Energy (DWTE) facility will support Ireland’s circular economy by processing residual materials for recycling and reuse, rather than allowing them to be exported overseas.

Owen Michaelson, Chief Executive Officer of Encyclis, said:

To achieve a more circular economy, we must maximise the utilisation of existing resources and reduce our reliance on mining virgin resources. For both environmental and economic reasons, it's important that Ireland has the ability to manage, process and make best use of its own waste by recovering valuable resources from it. 

Construction of the plant is now underway and will support around 150 jobs over the course of the building process. Once operational, the plant will employ 15 people, creating jobs and driving regeneration in the local economy.

The new plant will annually process about 120,000 tonnes of ash that remains after the combustion of residual waste at the DWTE facility in Poolbeg, a facilty which recently reached the milestone of processing 4 million tonnes of residual domestic and commercial waste. This ash processing will enable the extraction of ferrous and non-ferrous metals for recycling and unlocks the potential to produce secondary aggregates for local construction, thereby reducing the reliance on the mining of virgin resources.

Knockharley

While aggregates derived from bottom ash are not currently approved for use in Ireland - as they are in the UK and a number of European countries, project partners Encyclis and Beauparc are hopeful that this restriction may be reviewed. Encyclis and Beauparc are currently discussing the relevant regulations with the Government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the aim of helping to maximise the utilisation of existing resources for the circular economy.

To cover the period during construction, Encyclis has established an interim agreement with Irish waste management company Panda, which is part of the Beauparc group, to manage the bottom ash from the DWTE facility.

Brian McCabe, Chief Executive Officer of Beauparc commented:

“This significant investment will not only allow us to generate much more value from the ash that is produced by the Dublin Waste to Energy facility, but also offers the potential to reuse waste material to create aggregates for use in the construction sector.”

This sentiment was echoed by Kieran Mullins, Project Director of Dublin Waste to Energy who said: “The development of an on-island solution to treat residual bottom ash is a welcome addition to Ireland’s waste management infrastructure", reducing Ireland's dependency on other European countries for waste management.

The DWTE facility, situated in Poolbeg, where the ash is generated, began operating in 2017 and , which would otherwise have been sent to landfill or exported overseas. During the past seven years, the facility has generated over 3 million MWh of sustainable, baseload electricity - enough to supply around 100,000 homes.

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