MWH appointed to Shell Green project

Environmental engineering consultant MWH were appointed by United Utilities to play a key role in the extension of the company's Shell Green incineration plant, doubling its current capacity, reducing the unit cost of production by 7%, and producing £750,000 of operational savings per year. Shell Green, at Widnes, Cheshire, takes sewage sludge from seven wastewater treatment plants across the northwest. This is then de-watered and incinerated, or used to improve agricultural land...

• United Utilities' Shell Green Project reaps the benefit of MWH's worldwide expertise

CHESHIRE, UK, April 22, 2008 -- Environmental engineering consultant MWH were appointed by United Utilities to play a key role in the extension of the company's Shell Green incineration plant, doubling its current capacity, reducing the unit cost of production by 7 per cent, and producing £750,000 of operational savings per year.

Shell Green, at Widnes, Cheshire, takes sewage sludge from seven wastewater treatment plants across the northwest. This is then de-watered and incinerated, or used to improve agricultural land.

"When MWH, including MWH Business Solutions, was commissioned for this project, our client asked that we use our experience from our US organisation to undertake a complete examination of the processes at the plant and suggest the optimum solutions to increase efficiency and capacity", explains Phil McEnroe, MWH Project Manager "This has included the installation of a new control system extending across the entire sludge system, allowing full visibility from Shell Green of key parameters at the donor wastewater treatment plants.

"This integrated control system will also provides a minute-by-minute analysis of the amount of power and chemicals being used in the process at all levels, which means that optimisation adjustments can be made instantly as the situation demands. This optimisation of operations and maintenance activities along with a doubling of capacity, will lead to operational savings of £750,000 per year, which will cover the additional capital expenditure for this holistic approach in just two years of operation", continues Phil.

Key features of the project are:
• A doubling of incineration capacity
• An increase of a third in the de-watering capacity, by using centrifuges
• Installation of an integrated control system
• Replacement of the Bury to Bolton pipeline
• Refurbishment of the seven wastewater treatment plant sludge pumping stations inputting into Shell Green.
• The total value of the main design and build contract is of the order of £90 million.

The MWH team has made full use of the company's wealth of global expertise, and will continue to do so as the project continues. They consulted MWH colleagues in San Diego, USA, on their experience of business process modelling and the installation of an integrated control system and Belgian MWH colleagues who are incineration specialists.

"We also asked questions of our colleagues across Asia, the US and Europe regarding their experience of materials and equipment delivery and manpower issues for similar projects, so we could assist our client to identify potential bottlenecks, which could then be raised with the contractors", said Phil.

"As a result of this intelligence, which showed that turbines were in demand, United Utilities questioned the contractor on his order times. These were re-checked and found to have changed from 10 months to 18 months, which meant they were then ordered immediately to ensure delivery. This is an example of the sort of global intelligence that MWH can bring to a project, which saves the client time and money", concludes Phil.

MWH provides water, wastewater, energy, natural resource, program management, consulting and construction services to industrial, municipal, utility and government clients in Europe, the Americas, Middle East, India, Asia and the Pacific Rim.

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