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KBR – Solid Waste Authority Renewable Energy Facility No. 2

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In West Palm Beach County, Fla., the local solid waste authority is transforming waste into power. Construction kicked off in 2012 for the Solid Waste Authority Renewable Energy Facility No. 2, which is to convert household garbage into electricity upon its scheduled completion in May 2015.

The facility will reduce the amount of waste in local landfills by as much as 85 percent. It is the first facility of this type constructed in the United States in the past 20 years.

The Solid Waste Authority Renewable Energy Facility No. 2 will have the capacity to process 3,000 tons of garbage per day. It will reduce the amount of natural gas burned to create electricity, as well. The site is expected to create enough electricity to power more than 40,000 homes, and will also reduce greenhouse gas, according to the solid waste authority. 

Since the inception of its recycling program, the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County has recycled more than 2 million tons of residential and commercial material that otherwise would have been sent to the landfill. 

Recycling History

Renewable Energy Facility No. 1 opened in 1989 and has a capacity of 2,500 tons per day. It generates enough electricity to satisfy the power requirements of all of the solid waste authority’s North Jog Road facilities, and sells the excess power to Florida Power and Light to power approximately 30,000 more homes. When Renewable Energy Facility No. 2 comes online, the combined facilities are expected to produce enough energy for approximately 80,000 homes.

Facility No. 1 is operated by Palm Beach Resource Recovery Corp., a subsidiary of Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc. of Barberton, Ohio.

The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County employs 400 people who provide waste disposal and recycling services for 1.4 million residents and 25,000 businesses. It also collects waste with partners in large unincorporated areas, where the population has been increasing rapidly.

Project Highlights

In April 2011, the solid waste authority awarded the construction contract to Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR). Based in Houston, KBR is an engineering, construction and private military contracting company that employs more than 27,000. Formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton, KBR was founded in 1998. Its annual revenue exceeds $9.1 billion. 

KBR broke ground on the site of the new generating station in April 2012. It is working with Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation and CDM Constructors on the project. KBR Senior Project Manager Kelly Lyons says this is a massive job on a very big site composed of many buildings. Effective coordination of all components, stakeholders and teams is a top challenge. 

As of February, the Solid Waste Authority Renewable Energy Facility No. 2 project was about 70 percent completed. The work site consists of 607 KBR employees with 533 craftsmen and 74 supervisors, plus 106 subcontractor employees. 

Onsite, the construction team filled in a lake and is constructing a boiler building surrounded by several support buildings. The project includes a steam generator building, a building to house environmental equipment, warehouse and maintenance building, ash-handling system and a visitors center for student field trips and other guests. 

By contract, the team must include local hires comprising 30 percent skilled labor and 70 percent unskilled labor. If it falls short of this mark, it must pay penalties. However, it has not had much trouble meeting this goal, Lyons reports.