Since 2008 Envirogroup has been engaged as a technical solutions provider to Transpacific for several of their North Island sites, with roles that
varied according to client’s requirements from design of tenders and installation to project management.
Envirogroup’s initial concept was to burn the solvent using a specialist solvent burner sourced from Finland, however the cost of the burner alone was too high to justify the investment; we then considered transporting the waste solvent for use as alternative fuel in cement kilns at Westport but this option proved unviable due to high transportation costs. Lateral thinking was required. Transpacific needed a way to continue meeting its Mission Statement of “incorporating recovery, recycling and reuse in everything we do” so we focused on their core business for a solution.Transpacific offers fully integrated waste management solutions and specialises in the collection, treatment and disposal of liquid and hazardous waste, including waste solvent and oil.
From 2008 and 2011 Envirogroup was engaged to advise on possible processes to environmentally and safely dispose of hundreds of tonnes of waste solvent that were being stored in Transpacific’s yards which not only was costing a significant amount every year but was also posing a hazardous and environmental risk.
Every year Transpacific’s sterilisation and treatment plants consumed millions of cubic meters of natural gas, costing approximately NZ$ 250,000. Using the information gained from our earlier reviews we explored the commercial viability of using solvent instead of natural gas, which meant developing a business case to convert one of the Transpacific’s steam boilers, currently fired with natural gas and waste oil, to a waste solvent boiler. This alternative solution had used New Zealand sourced specialist design and manufacturing skill, burnt the waste solvent locally where it was generated and utilised existing plant at less time and cost.
In 2010 the business case was approved and contracted following tender documents provided by Envirogroup. As the solvent was not an approved boiler fuel, Envirogroup assisted Transpacific with obtaining regulatory authority approval and registration of the new burner acting as an intermediary and liaising with the NZ Department of Labour (now Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) and ERMA (now EPA). Envirogroup also continued to project manage the process, oversee the commissioning and regularly provide contract’s financial and progress reports.
The approval process was complex and lengthy with the whole project, from initial investigation to burner approval and final commissioning taking three years to complete. The process involved not only meeting client’s requirements but also resolving consequential downstream issues and coordination of all the parties involved, including internal and external sub-contractors, independent certifiers and government agencies.
We are proud to have played a significant part in this project and to have delivered a successful turn-key solution for our client; the solvent combustion process is now well established with Transpacific and continues to be viable and environmentally sound, resulting in financial benefits for our client and reduced demand on our nation’s energy resources.