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January 2021. The foundations have gone in, and they’re now putting up the steel frame.

Construction of a new plant takes shape

May 2020 saw the first soil turned on a new and entirely unique plant to be based on EasyMining’s patent for extracting commercial salts from fly ash. Nine months have now passed, and despite the corona pandemic, this major construction project is proceeding well and according to plan.

10 Feb 2021

Mikael Hedström, CEO of Ragn-Sells’ Treatment & Detox, explains that he is able to follow construction online and see how the building is beginning to take shape via a camera. The plant is being built at Ragn-Sells’ largest waste facility at Högbytorp in Bro, just northwest of Stockholm.

- The foundations have gone in, explains Mikael, and they’re now putting up the steel frame. Half of the building is in place. The next step will be to clad the frame in Paroc panels, i.e. the façade itself, which consists of insulation and sheeting.

Collaboration between several contractors

A number of different contractors are involved in the build. Construction project management is being provided by Midroc, which has long experience of major construction projects of this kind. Their task is to establish and direct coordination between the suppliers and to ensure that the timetable is kept to.

MKL Bau, a Polish construction company, is responsible for the building work. The technical equipment for recovering salts from the fly ash is being supplied by the company Hitachi Zosen Inova. So far, thanks for the foundations have been supplied and work on installing them has begun.

The project manager, Ulrik Améen, has been involved from the very beginning, and he has seen the project go from a patent application to a pilot project – and now to construction of a proper factory. He represents Ragn-Sells in the construction project.

- Everything’s going well, explains Ulrik. We are in line with the cost plan and even a little ahead of the timetable. The challenge has been Corona, and we were worried that the Polish construction contractor wouldn’t be able to come back after the Christmas break to continue work on the steel frame, but now they’re back on site. We have adapted the work in order to prevent the spread of infection, among other things by bringing in more site huts and keeping the contractors separated.

In mid-February, the plant’s new production manager, Mattias Lindblad, will be joining the project. He won’t have far to walk to his new place of work from the neighboring E.ON, where he had been involved in the construction of the big anaerobic digestion plant.. One important job will be to put together the personnel team of about 14 people representing various areas of expertise who will be responsible for operating the new plant.

- Just like E.ON’s biogas plant, this is a unique project, says Mikael, and Mattias has solid experience of commissioning, which is an important area of expertise for the job, in addition to his background in management.

Safety first

Ragn-Sells has responsibility for coordination of the working environment on the construction project as part of the important work with Safety First. Among other things, adapted non-conformance-reporting and risk analysis has been produced for the build. A person with the necessary working environment training, known as a BAS U, is included in the project team, and there is compliance with an established working environment plan, to which all suppliers and parties are required to commit.

Reduced carbon dioxide emissions

Fly ash, which is classed as hazardous waste, is what is left over from scrubbing the flue gas from waste incineration. The Ash2Salt plant washes the fly ash and recovers from it the salts sodium chloride, calcium chloride and potassium chloride for various commercial applications. Already, large quantities of fly ash are arriving at Högbytorp, including from E.ON. Once the plant has been completed, Ragn-Sells will be the only operator on the world market capable of recovering salts from fly ash. Last year Ragn-Sells received a subsidy of SEK 51 million from “Klimatklivet” for the project thanks to the significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the recovery process.

- We have an agreement with the Norwegian salt wholesaler, GC Rieber, for the sale of the salts, says Mikael, and we already know roughly how much we will be able to supply once the plant is up and running.

Commissioning of the new Ash2Salt plant is forecast for summer 2022.