Aluchemie closed its doors at the end of 2021. This marked the disappearance of a well-known name from the Botlek area after more than 50 years. Over the next few years, TAUW will assist Aluchemie in transforming the area into a greenfield. Aluchemie was the largest manufacturer of anodes in Europe, which made them an important player in the production of aluminium. However, aluminium production has largely moved to the Middle East and Asia in recent years. As a result, the Aluchemie plant ceased operation at the end of 2021.
More than half a century of production has left its mark on the site. The company is leaving a location covering an area as large as around 40 football fields, full of equipment, ovens and infrastructure both above and underground. “Given the scale of the site and the timetable, the dismantling of the buildings and equipment and ongoing demolition and soil remediation make this a unique and challenging project”, explains Annette Haselhoff, Consultant at TAUW. Annette has overall responsibility for managing this process. Aluchemie aims to hand over the site at the end of 2024 in the same condition as when they acquired it in 1962. It is no coincidence that the project is named ‘Greenfield’. While the future use of the site is still unclear, the production process at Aluchemie has a large environmental and nitrogen emission allowance. It is expected that this will mean that the site will not remain unused for long.
TAUW has worked closely with Aluchemie for many years, as we were responsible for the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) activities at the company. In early 2021, we gave our vision for the Greenfield project and offered our expertise. Aluchemie enthusiastically agreed with our approach. The demolition, dismantling and soil remediation are separate and substantial challenges, which must be carefully coordinated. Annette explains that various fields and disciplines (including soil and groundwater, ecology, nitrogen and permits) at TAUW are closely involved with the project and that it is important that the way they work takes account of the project as a whole. “We are taking a step-by-step approach and incorporate innovative approaches. For example, we have used drones for the ecological survey and advanced soil survey techniques. We are carefully coordinating our work with the Port of Rotterdam (as the landowner) and the various competent authorities. In short, the project involves strong communication and a sound multidisciplinary approach.”
“This project involves many different fields of expertise”, continues Annette. “We have all the required services and specialisms in house. Combining and coordinating between all the activities and interests makes planning the process a challenge. All the pieces must fit together at the right moment, because there is little time for schedule overruns. Sound programme and project management are crucial. We have put together a multidisciplinary team with Aluchemie. We are also familiar with the region, the neighbouring companies and the competent authorities . This adds value and ensures a high level of mutual trust.”
While the reason for the project is unfortunate, TAUW is proud of its leading role. “For us, this is also a challenging project at an individual, team and organisational level. Everyone is working hard to make it a success in the coming years.”
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