SUCCESS STORIES

Total Recycle Decommissioning (TRD)

Plans to build the EU’s first recycling facility for large ships are underway at the Port of Frederikshavn in Denmark.

Total Recycling Decommissioning (TRD) is a Climate-KIC Pathfinder project that has been exploring the commercial and environmental viability of establishing a cluster of companies around the proposed port facility to maximise the amount of recycled materials extracted from ships decommissioned there.

Key points

  • Around 95 percent of the 1,250 large ships decommissioned each year are beached
  • Unsafe practices and the unregulated handling of hazardous materials at these facilities has negative consequences for the workers involved and for the environment
  • The 2013 EU Ship Recycling Regulation aims to mitigate these issues
  • The first regulation-compliant facility in the EU is planned for the Port of Frederikshavn in Denmark
  • The TRD project aims to establish the commercial viability of creating a specialised recycling cluster at the planned facility to maximise the amount of recoverable materials from each ship

Project Background and Drivers

Each year around 1,250 oceangoing ships are decommissioned. Of those, 95 percent are beached, according to Ship Recycling Lloyd’s Register, and often in Southeast Asia where unsafe working conditions and improper handling of hazardous materials can be harmful both to the workers and to the environment.

The EU Ship Recycling Regulation, which came into force in 2013, aims to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts arising from the scrapping of EU-flagged vessels. It is expected to be ratified by all member states within the next five years. At present, there is no facility within the EU capable of decommissioning large ships in line with procedures and standards laid down in the new regulation, but the first such facility is on its way. It will be built at the Port of Frederikshavn, in Denmark. The new plant is due to open by the end of 2017.

Transitioning to a circular economy is high on Europe’s agenda. In 2015, the European Commission launched a Circular Economy Package to help businesses move towards an economic model in which the maximum value is extracted from all raw materials, products and waste.

Project Detail

Total Recycling Decommissioning (TRD) is a project examining the commercial incentive to maximise the percentage of recycled materials from ships at the new facility.

“Currently decommission sites are mainly focusing on steel, so we thought it would be beneficial to look at non-ferrous metals and hazardous chemicals. These materials are currently just discarded. We want to use their waste to establish a cluster of companies that focus on all materials, and so to introduce a circular economy mindset into this facility,” says Konstantina Kaisheva, project consultant at NTU, the Danish firm leading the project.

The team has conducted a pre-feasibility study, which included researching which metals are most technically viable to recycle and levels of commercial interest in these proposals from companies in Denmark and the other Nordic countries.

“We have learned there is definite commercial viability focusing on non-ferrous metals, especially copper, nickel and lead,” says Kaisheva. “One large roll-on/roll-off passenger ship provides around 100-300 metric tonnes of non-ferrous metals, which can easily be recycled with these companies’ expertise, and non-ferrous metals generally have a higher selling price as scrap than steel does.”

Furthermore – and in contrast to unregulated ship decommissioning – every stage of the recycling process would be documented and properly recorded. This information could then be fed back to ship designers to help ensure that the next generation of ships are as recyclable as possible. “It’s the circular economy in practice,” Kaisheva says.

It is difficult at this early stage to quantify the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could be realised by the scheme’s energy savings. That will depend on the tonnage of ships and equipment that the proposed facility recycles each year. But, as Kaisheva points out, any reduction in the number of vessels being decommissioned on beaches in Bangladesh or Pakistan will have an immediate and beneficial environmental impact.

Climate-KIC Support

Bringing the Total Recycle Decommissioning concept to Climate-KIC felt like natural fit for NTU, Kaisheva says. “We felt they had the expertise to back up this kind of project because they are focused on environmentally friendly solutions and innovations,” she explains. “It’s very exciting to have a partner like Climate-KIC – they have been heavily involved from the beginning.”

Climate-KIC’s Nordic team helped NTU prepare its application for the Pathfinder, and assisted with brainstorming sessions to help get the concept into shape. “After we were awarded [Pathfinder status], Climate-KIC gave us continuous help,” Kaisheva adds. “They were very happy to provide contacts for us when we were doing stakeholder research, and we hope this will continue. It’s a very informal and close relationship that we have with Climate-KIC. It’s a team effort.”

“We want to continue dialogue with companies and hopefully with ship owners as well,” says Kaisheva. Two other Climate-KIC partners, Technical University of Denmark and Aarhus University, has been brought on board to help ensure the business model remains technologically and environmentally sound as it is developed.

Every stage of the recycling process would be documented and properly recorded. This information could then be fed back to ship designers to help ensure that the next generation of ships are as recyclable as possible.

Konstantina Kaisheva, project consultant at NTU

 
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