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Fortum testing new MOPS technology for the clean up of contaminated sand in Denmark

05 July 2019, 10:22 EEST


Fortum Recycling&Waste is now ready to implement a full-scale test of the plant to be used in the cleanup of the heavily contaminated Groyne 42 in Denmark. Initially, approximately 90 tonnes of sand will be cleaned. The effectiveness and mobility of the technology gives it big potential locally and globally.

The pollution at Groyne 42 at Harboøre Tange in Denmark has been an unsolved problem for decades. Fortum is now ready to implement the first full-scale test of MOPS (Multi-purpose On-site Phase Separator) technology that can remove the mercury, pesticides and other toxins from the sand.

The pilot test at the plant will take place during the summer, and by October 2019, Fortum expects the testing to result in clean sand that can be recycled. In addition, a minor quantity of concentrated contaminated material will be removed and incinerated at Fortum’s plant in Nyborg.

“In our previous tests, we succeeded in removing the pesticides completely and reducing the mercury content to a level where it cannot be measured. This fact confirms the potential of the
technology and strengthens our expectations for the full-scale testing,” says Jens Peter Rasmussen, Business Responsible at Fortum Recycling&Waste, Denmark.

Fortum expects that the total quantity of sand to be sent to our high temperature plant in Nyborg for final treatment will be limited to just five percent. In other words, 95 percent of the sand from the Groyne will be so clean after the local treatment that it will be within the soil quality criteria issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in Denmark and thus can be used as filling material for road construction or other construction purposes.

The president of the council of Regional Development in Region Midtjylland, Jørgen Nørby, is excited about the results of the full-scale testing.

“It is crucial that we in Denmark find sustainable solutions for the contamination at Groyne 42 and at Harboøre Tange. I expect that the good intentions from the election campaign will be realised - now also expressed by the incoming Government and its support base. We owe that to the environment and to future generations,” notes Jørgen Nørby, referring to the political framework on which the incoming Government is based. The framework contains phrasing that it is “a priority to handle and clean the huge generation contaminations.”

Already last autumn, MOPS technology showed promising results in laboratory tests and small-scale tests. If the full-scale test results are as equally as promising as the previous testing, the flexible MOPS technology will be able to detoxify and recover valuable raw materials from soil, fly ash and wastewater sludge globally.

MOPS in brief

The core of MOPS technology is a reactor where the contaminated material is flushed through a treatment liquid and the toxic components are released into the liquid. In the next phase of the process, the liquid’s toxic components are precipitated into a sludge, and the decontaminated liquid can be reused as process water.

The MOPS treatment comprises the decontamination as well as recovery of raw materials. The process focuses on three different matrixes. The contaminated sand from Groyne 42 will be cleaned. In two other tests, the focus will be on exploring the technology’s potential for recovering metals from fly ash and on recovering phosphorus from wastewater sludge. Applied to these focus areas, the MOPS technology will have an important role in solving environmental challenges and in the circular economy.