Mexico City awards contract to build US$600mn solid waste treatment plant

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

A consortium comprising water and waste solutions firm Proactiva Medio Ambiente Mexico and French resource management company Veolia was awarded a contract to design, build and operate a 11.5bn-peso (US$611mn) thermal solid waste treatment plant in Mexico City.

The plant will treat about 4,595t of solid waste daily, out of the 8,000t that is produced in the city every day, the local government said in a statement.

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This waste will then be used to generate power – up to 965,000MWh/y – for the 12 lines of the capital's metro system.

The contract was awarded under a 33-year service provision project (PPS) model, which means the government will start paying for the project once it begins to supply the stipulated amount of electricity. The plant will become property of the local government after completion of the term.

The plant will be built at the Bordo Poniente landfill, the city's largest dump and one of the world's biggest open-air landfills. Construction is expected to wrap in 2018 so that the facility can begin operating late that year or in early 2019.

The consortium beat off competition from the other two bidders (Técnicas Medioambientales de México, and Weight Conversion Technology), due to "its international experience in terms of thermal solid waste treatment through the operation of 60 facilities of that kind throughout the world, which have treated some 45Mt of garbage," the statement said.

Construction of the plant will not imply an additional financial burden on the local government, it said. The funds that are currently used to pay federal power utility CFE for supplying energy to the metro system, as well as some of the resources spent in transporting solid waste to the local landfills, will be reallocated to pay for the plant.

To compensate for any environmental impact that the construction of the plant may cause, the consortium will build a park in the city's Tláhuac district, a project that the local government had committed to develop in return for the construction of the metro line No. 12.

The tender for the project was launched in December and the winner was supposed to be announced in February. Authorities pushed back the date after bidders requested more time to submit their proposals.

According to metro officials, the capital city currently pays CFE between 1.7bn and 1.8bn pesos a year to supply power to the metro.

Earlier this year, the city government announced it was preparing tenders for the construction of three solid waste processing facilities, each of which would use a different method to transform waste into energy. The plants will help handle 12,000t of solid waste produced in the capital each day and their construction will require an estimated investment of 3.5bn pesos.

A biodigestion plant, which would be the largest of its kind in the world, could be located near the Central de Abastos, the city's main wholesale market for fresh produce, according to reports.