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German mine to become new site for Swedish fly ash

Norwegian waste management company Norsk Avfallshantering AS (NOAH) site on Langøya in southern Norway is presently the only landfill in Scandinavia handling fly ash. However, as NOAH's facility in Norway is moving towards closure, the search for new landfill alternatives for Nordic fly ash is on. Norway-headed secondary materials supplier Geminor AS recently started a test project depositing fly ash in German salt mines.

Langøya is a long, narrow island, three and a half kilometers long and 500 meters wide. Two limestone quarries have been commercially quarried for almost a century. Norcem extracted limestone until 1985. After that, another company began operations to neutralize hydrochloric acid (HCl) with lime. In 1993 Noah was founded by the Norwegian State, and it acquired Langøya from Norcem. In 2003 Noah was sold to a private owner, Gjelsten Holding AS. Noah’s turnover is approximately SEK 420 million and the profit is 115 million. The bedrock on Langøya consists of impervious limestone that prevents any seawater seepage. Furthermore, 900 m deep drill cores reveal that the island has no groundwater and thus it is considered suitable for depositing stabilized hazardous waste (photo courtesy NOAH).

The pending closure of Langøya in southern Norway creates challenges for both industry players and the authorities, sparking a debate about alternative solutions for handling fly ash in the Scandinavian countries.

In response, Geminor recently started a test project by transporting fly ash to Germany and the former salt mines outside of Goettingen. Here, the fly ash will be mixed with saltwater and deposited as a neutralized mass.

Geminor manages fly ash from the energy- and district heating producer Landskrona Energi in Sweden, an industry player that needs to dispose of around 2 000 tonnes of fly ash annually. Geminor’s Country Manager in Sweden, Per Mernelius, notes a successful start to the project.

Our first two transports from Landskrona have gone according to plan, which makes us certain that this is a good landfill alternative to Langøya. Since we now have permission to handle rail transport at Geminor’s facility in Landskrona, we are looking at the possibility of transporting the fly ash by train in the future. This gives us an efficient and more sustainable transport option. At the moment, the landfill option in Germany is a good alternative for industry players throughout Scandinavia. Our job is finding the best solutions for a range of different waste streams, and we will continue to look for new, long-term alternatives to Langøya, said Per Mernelius in Geminor Sweden.

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