Covanta breaks ground on Canadian EfW facility

By Matt Soberg | August 29, 2011

Covanta Energy partnered with the municipal regions of Durham and York in Ontario, Canada, to break ground on an energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in August. Covanta will be designing, constructing and operating the state-of-the-art facility, known as the Durham York Energy Centre, and plan operational start-up to occur in the fall of 2014. The DYEC will be municipally owned and located in the Clarington Business Park of the Durham region of Ontario.

 “The groundbreaking signals the start of construction of the first energy-from-waste facility built in Ontario in 22 years,” Bill Fisch, York region chairman and CEO, said in a joint press release. “York and Durham regions are committed to the diversion of residual waste from landfill and thermal treatment of waste is smart technology to achieve our goals,” Fisch said.

“We are delighted to receive the go-ahead on the construction of the Durham York Energy Centre, the first large scale, commercial energy-from-waste project in North America in over 15 years,” Anthony J. Orlando, president and CEO of Covanta said. “The partnership with Durham and York and their decision to build this facility reinforces the important role that energy-from-waste plays in sustainable waste management efforts and in creating new reliable, renewable energy sources.” 

Project planning began in 2009, appropriate governmental approvals were finalized and obtained in June 2011, and the project intends to proceed to engineering, procurement and construction through 2013.

The municipalities intend to utilize residual residential waste from existing composting and recycling programs to fuel the DYEC. The facility will be able to process 140,000 metric tons (154,000 tons) per year. 

The DYEC will provide thermal energy through combustion technology by burning municipal solid waste at temperatures above 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to biomass thermal, the DYEC will produce high-pressure steam running through turbine generators to create electricity.   

According to Covanta, the DYEC will be capable of producing 17.5 megawatts of energy, powering nearly 10,000 homes. The DYEC’s future district heating system is projected to produce enough thermal energy for the equivalent of 2,200 homes.  

Construction alone will create approximately 400 jobs over a three-year period, according to Covanta, while the DYEC will employ 35 to 40 skilled full-time people once operational.

The regions are financing the project with the help of the federal Gas Tax Fund that is designed to aid municipalities obtain stable financing to further environmentally sustainable infrastructure. The estimated total cost is $250 million for the DYEC, while the Gas Tax Fund will invest approximately $746 million of funding annually from 2010 through 2014 for sustainable infrastructure across Ontario.