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Optimisation of mechanical biological waste treatment plant

Veolia logoIt's well known that the planet is undergoing a climatic shift and many of its resources are depleting. The UK has a target to send 50% of all household waste to compost, recycle or reuse by the European Union Waste Framework Directive.


The team were tasked by Veolia Environmental Services, to optimise a mechanical biological waste treatment plant, specifically, the in-vessel composting (IVC) process and them perform a critical analysis by developing a new, alternative design for an IVC plant. The group used Veolia's current plant at Pitsea, Essex as a basis for their work.


The project was composed of three aspects; review, optimisation and redesign of an IVC plant.

  • Review and optimise the civil specifications, construct materials and aeration system used in the IVC plant to improve throughput and durability.
  • Develop a novel design for a new IVC plant based on plant requirements
  • Evaluate all in terms of life cycle costs and sustainability.

IVC redesign


Objectives: reduce the movement of the compost and shredding, optimise mixing and aeration of the compost.

Option 1: Rretractable roof

Pros: Easy access for machinery, simple to construct.

Cons: Poor insulation.

Option 2: Inclined auger

Pros: Automated process, fully sealed.

Cons: Low capacity.

Option 3: Archimedes silo

Pros: Mixing hardware built in.

Cons: Process would become continuous.

Retractable Inclined Archimedes


(PDF Document) Full project details