The former Minister of the Environment Torbjørn Berntsen initiated the establishment of NOAH, and the mission was to treat inorganic hazardous waste from the industry. Emissions to nature were no longer acceptable. Langøya has been part of the industry’s infrastructure since 1993, and the process at Langøya ensures that we avoid emission of environmental toxins from Norwegian industry into the natural environment.
The main activity on Langøya is reception of industrial acid, fly ash from incinerators and other inorganic hazardous waste from the Norwegian industry.
In Norway we deliver approx. 99% of all waste to reception and treatment. But avoiding emissions is no longer sufficient. Our pressure on nature is not sustainable, and we want circular solutions with more recycling and reuse. At NOAH we use our expertise to develop tomorrow’s solutions with an increased degree of resource recovery. NOAH has a key role in finding sustainable solutions for industrial waste. We also have a desire to use the limited national landfill capacity more efficiently.
The biggest environmentally challenge is the content of heavy metals in industrial waste. Some of the metals are valuable and we should strive for recycling. The technical solutions exists, but the cost level must be reduced. And sustainable solutions must be developed to avoid high use of water and energy.
Heavy metals such as lead and mercury should not be recycled. NOAH’s solution on Langøya is defined as the best available technology (BAT) to handle this challenge. The heavy metals are chemically bonded in a stable gypsum, the metals are kept in the gypsum, and the risk of leakage is very low. We continuously work to improve the quality of the gypsym. Leaching and reactivity from the gypsym are almost the same as ordinary waste.
Therefore we have been able to respond to an inquiry from the Norwegian Environment Agency about the possibility to extend Langøya’s reception capacity. We have recommended to continue the reception on Langøya until 2030. This will provide an opportunity to further develop recycling solutions for industrial waste.
It is important that the operations on Langøya have a low environmental footprint. We treat waste with waste and strive for low consumption of virgin materials in waste treatment. CO2 emissions in the process is limited and water consuption is low. Emissions related to the transport of waste are, however, a challenge, and we are gradually investing in greener transport solutions at sea and by road.
Langøya is also a rehabilitation project where the unique biodiversity is safely taken care of. The gypsym is placed in deep craters after 100 years of limestone mining, and contributes to the restoration of Langøya’s topography. The northern part of the island is now available for everyone for the first time since lime mining started 150 years ago.
We are proud of our contribution to cleaner value chains and the restoration of Langøya.