Bristol-based OCO Technology signs £multi-million Covanta recycling deal

OCO-tanker

OCO Technology has signed a multi-million-pound contract to recycle Air Pollution Control residues (APCr) from two new Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) being operated by Covanta.

OCO Technology has developed a Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) process to treat and stabilise thermal residues, and turn them into sustainable construction products such as carbon negative aggregate.

OCO Technology is currently one of only a few companies in the UK to hold Environment Agency ‘End of Waste’ approval, classifying the finished aggregate as a ‘product’.

The long-term agreement will see OCO take significant tonnage of APCr per year from the two facilities; using its pioneering Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT) to turn the waste into a highly sought-after carbon negative aggregate – known as Manufactured LimeStone (M-LS).

The process enables the permanent capture of CO2 and ensures the ERF operations can meet their zero waste to landfill goals.

Lizzie Bayley, OCO’s new Legal and Commercial Manager, who has been leading the negotiations, says the agreement marks another major milestone in the growth of OCO.

“We are delighted that the partnership with Covanta has recognised the huge potential our technology offers for both APCr recycling and safe and sustainable carbon capture,” she said.

“It demonstrates the faith that the waste sector has in OCO’s abilities to make a tangible difference to the way APCr is managed and enables us to invest further in expanding our network of facilities.”

Due for completion in 2023, the Newhurst Energy Recovery Facility, a project partnership between Covanta and Biffa, near Shepshed, Leicestershire, will provide sustainable treatment facilities for up to 350,000 tonnes of residual waste per year and will generate up to 42 megawatts of low carbon energy – enough to power around 80,000 homes.

Construction is also under way on the new Protos Energy Recovery Facility, near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, also a Covanta and Biffa project partnership, that will provide 400,000 tonnes of annual treatment capacity for non-recyclable waste. It is expected to generate up to 49 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 90,000 UK homes.

An estimated 14,000 tonnes of APCr will come out of the Newhurst site and a further 17,000 tonnes from Protos; with treatment taking place at OCO’s existing operational facilities, including its plant in Leeds, as well as the new OCO facility to be constructed in Norfolk.

The ACT process treats APCr with carbon dioxide gas to enable the permanent capture of significant amounts of CO2, turning it into the world’s first carbon negative artificial aggregate for use within the construction and civil engineering sectors

Andrew Howie, Commercial Director at Covanta Europe, said: “We are delighted to be working with OCO, their world leading technology provides a sustainable and carbon neutral solution to help us recycle the APCr residues. OCO’s process creates a carbon negative product for aggregate supply that supports Covanta’s active engagement in the circular economy.”

A qualified lawyer, Lizzie joined OCO in mid-2021 with a strong track record in the aggregates and waste management sectors. Having spent 25 years working in-house with Hanson Aggregates and Renewi (formerly Shanks Waste Management), she set up her own consultancy service in 2014 and has been advising O.C.O on APCr management contracts for the last 8 years.

She joined the team full-time last April and says: “Having worked within both these sectors, I can see that the work OCO is doing to promote sustainability and the circular economy is truly ground-breaking.

“The benefits of OCO’s technology in terms of permanent carbon capture and reducing the impact of CO2 is enormous and I am very encouraged by the way the waste sector is embracing the opportunity for change.”