Continuously improving our business and our technology
At Covanta, we pride ourselves on being leaders, not followers. Our unyielding desire to move our industry forward is what sets us apart from our competitors. Over the last several decades, we have made numerous significant advancements in the area of waste management technology. Scroll down to see a timeline of our innovations.
Formation of Waste-to-Energy Division
Ogden Corporation (now Covanta) forms Ogden Martin Systems Inc. as its Waste-to-Energy division through its acquisition of the North American licensing rights to the Martin GmbH system of waste combustion, the most widely used technology.
Partnering With Communities
Covanta is the first in the industry to hold a Partner Community Conference (now referred to as the “Partners Conference”), bringing together client communities to discuss facility operations and technological advancements.
First zero wastewater discharge Waste-to-Energy facility
Covanta Babylon becomes Covanta’s first zero wastewater discharge Waste-to-Energy facility in the U.S. – treating and recycling all water used in the combustion process. Covanta is also the first to remediate landfill leachate for reuse in the combustion process.
First demonstration of chemical reduction of NOx
Through its Stanislaus County Resource Recovery Facility, Covanta emerges as the only company in its field to commercially demonstrate the chemical reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) at guaranteed levels. Stanislaus is the first privately held and operated large-scale Waste-to-Energy facility in the U.S. to remove NOx from flue gas and the first to use ammonia injection for the reduction of NOx.
Introduction of Continuous Emissions Monitoring
Covanta introduces its proprietary Continuous Emission Monitoring (CEM) system. The CEM system, the first to be used in the Waste-to-Energy industry, can improve air quality by automatically detecting fluctuations in air emissions, making rapid adjustments to the pollution abatement system and alerting operators to any change in the plant’s emission status.
Testing Mercury Control
Covanta becomes the first to test powder-activated carbon with the U.S. EPA to validate mercury control with dry scrubber and baghouse technologies at its Covanta Stanislaus facility.
Mercury Control Technology Installed
The Lee County Waste-to-Energy facility (Covanta Lee – Fort Myers, FL) is the first facility constructed with mercury abatement technology already installed. Notably, this cutting-edge technology is implemented ahead of impending Florida mercury emissions guidelines for Waste-to-Energy facilities.
First Dry-Lime System
The Lancaster Resource Recovery Facility (Covanta Lancaster – Bainbridge, PA) becomes the first Waste-to-Energy facility to install a furnace dry-lime system for the control of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen chloride in tandem with a conventional semi-dry system.
First Services for Manufacturers
Covanta becomes the first in the industry to assist manufacturers in meeting landfill reduction and sustainability goals.
NOx Reduction Innovations
Covanta innovates with Low NOx (LN) and Very Low Nox (VLN) technologies. When LN technology is used in conjunction with the control systems already employed, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are cut to approximately half of current regulatory limits. The VLN technology has similarly dramatic NOx reductions while increasing energy efficiency, providing an additional competitive advantage.
Installation of FTIR
Covanta Lee becomes the first Waste-to-Energy facility in the U.S. to have a permitted installation of fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), a major advance in meeting current and future emissions measurement requirements.
Improving Boiler Reliability
Covanta creates its Boiler Reliability Program to improve boiler availability and productivity at all facilities, leading the company to the highest reliability in the electric power production industry.
Debut of Fishing for Energy
Along with three public and private partners, Covanta creates the Fishing for Energy Partnership. Building on an earlier program in Hawaii, Fishing for Energy collects fishing nets and other marine debris, which would otherwise harm the environment, and turns them into energy at Covanta facilities.
Taking Back Consumer Medications
Covanta launches its Rx4Safety (Prescription for Safety) program to provide free disposal of consumer pharmaceuticals collected by law enforcement. Covanta is the first company in the U.S. to offer the service free to law enforcement.
Moving Forward on Safety
Covanta becomes the first Waste-to-Energy company in the U.S. to engage employees in monthly near miss reporting as part of its safety program. Also, Covanta Field Services North becomes the first mobile workforce in the industry to earn OSHA Voluntary Protection Program certification.
Testing New Monitoring Technology
Covanta Haverhill serves as a beta test site--the first in the U.S.--for the installation and demonstration of a new continuous monitoring system for mercury, dioxin and particulate matter. Although the dioxin monitor still requires laboratory analysis, it allows long-term monitoring of emissions without a team of specialists. Data gathered explains the relationship between operations and emissions so facilities can consistently drive emissions toward zero.
Environmental Justice Policy
Covanta becomes one of first companies in any industry to adopt an environmental justice policy. Through this policy, Covanta commits to engage with communities and local organizations, and to reduce emissions and potential impacts of our operations. Covanta’s efforts in this area received recognition in 2016 from the Chester (PA) Environmental Partnership.
Successful Gasification Test
Covanta successfully completes commercial demonstration testing of a first-of-its-kind gasification technology.
Mobile Metal Recovery System
Covanta Plymouth installs an Innovative Mobile Metal Recovery System to recover more ferrous and nonferrous metal from residual ash.
Natural Gas Fueling Station
Covanta opens its first compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Newark, NJ, as part of a nationwide partnership with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to expand the CNG fueling infrastructure across the country.
Advanced Water Reuse Technology
Covanta Delaware Valley is the first North American industrial facility to install advanced water reuse technology, saving 1.3 million gallons of drinking water per day by reusing treated discharge water in its cooling system.
Covanta Environmental Solutions develops and installs the first wastewater evaporator, designed to process wastewater streams that cannot undergo chemical treatment. Water is boiled off, leaving a residue that is collected and destroyed at Covanta Waste-to-Energy facilities.
Shock Pulse Generator
First installation of a shock pulse generator as a method to continuously clean Waste-to-Energy boilers. Shock pulse generators create a controlled explosion to safely remove ash from traditionally hard-to-clean areas of a boiler, helping to minimize downtime.
Total Ash Processing System
Covanta installs the first Total Ash Processing System (TAPS) at its Fairless Hills, PA, location. TAPS technology allows for greater metal recovery from Waste-to-Energy ash and cleans ash for use as aggregate in asphalt and concrete, greatly reducing the need for ash disposal in landfills.
Under a novel arrangement with the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA), Covanta Camden could soon serve as the linchpin of a power microgrid. When weather events disrupt the main grid, the microgrid would ensure electricity continues to CCMUA’s wastewater facility and other community partners. When an agreement is finalized, this would be the first microgrid using Waste-to-Energy technology in the United States.