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  • Dear Readers!

    If you look back at the editorial in the last issue of REMONDIS AKTUELL, then you’ll find that the comments made there were almost prophetic. Just one of the topics it mentioned was the droughts in 2018, predicting that we could expect much of the same this year. Here we are, just a few months on, and this prediction has come true. Having analysed empirical evidence and ice cores, the overwhelming majority of climatologists agree that these weather conditions have been caused by industrialised humans – and that they can only be put right by humans. The question here, of course, is how. Most people are focusing on cars, energy generated by fossil fuels and, of course, air travel. Everyone is talking about the electrification of vehicles. You just need to consider the physical facts, however, to realise this will not be easy to implement. Germany’s national grid, for example, would be unable to supply the power needed if all vehicle owners tried to recharge their car batteries at the same time. The question must, therefore, be asked whether electromobility is the right solution. The move towards the electrification of vehicles is well underway though, as is the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Scientists, however, are predicting that these measures will not be enough on their own. We have another good idea here and one that is practicable – as can be seen by REMONDIS’ daily work. Namely, making the most of the potential of recycling to curb climate change, preferably on a global scale. If humans were to succeed in systematically recovering raw materials and returning them to production cycles and if they were to stop sending waste to landfill (so methane is not produced there), then this would be the third most effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Germany made this move back in 2005 when it passed the ‘TASi’ [Technical Directive on the Recycling, Treatment and Disposal of Municipal Waste]. It is high time that a European TASi is drawn up or – even better – a global TASi. We are systematically implementing this law at REMONDIS every single day.

    Looking at the international stage, Russia is intensifying its efforts to reduce the amount of waste it takes to landfill by creating a well-functioning circular economy. The Russian government has launched an initiative that has made it obliga- tory for all 80 Russian regions to appoint a general operator to modernise their regional waste management sector and set up more recycling systems. For many years now, REMONDIS has been running just such a system in Saransk, the capital city of the Russian Republic of Mordovia and – according to a 2010 survey – one of the best cities to live in in Russia. The city is, therefore, acting as a role model, showing the direction that the Russian waste management sector could move in in the future.

    A number of our new apprentices joined the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement when they were at school, calling for more to be done to stop climate change. And so it was a logical decision for them to do their apprenticeship at REMONDIS where they can carve out a sustainable career for themselves, “Every Day for Future” so to speak. REMONDIS’ systematic recycling operations ensure waste is transformed into raw materials, energy and heat and play a considerable role in conserving natural resources and tackling climate change. Welcome to the climate professionals.

    Max Köttgen

A comprehensive package of services

The inspection of Ruhr Oel BP’s refinery in the German city of Gelsenkirchen took place as planned during the second half of last year – the largest and most extensive TÜV inspection to be held in the European refinery sector in 2018. BUCHEN and XERVON delivered a comprehensive package of services covering six different specialist areas of business and had over 1,000 operatives working on site at the plant during the shutdown.

A huge range of tasks

  • Ruhr Oel BP operates a complex refinery business at its Horst and Scholven plants in Gelsenkirchen. Around 12 million tonnes of crude oil are processed here every year to manufacture more than 50 different types of product. The work that needs to be carried out when this refinery has to ‘make a pit stop’ is in a class of its own. Such projects involve huge numbers of facilities and plant components having to be cleaned, checked and – where necessary – repaired or replaced. Two important factors for making such projects a success are good collaboration work between all those taking part and efficiency as this means less time is needed.

    Besides having its own team at the site, Ruhr Oel BP also used a large number of external specialists. More than 1,000 of these experts were provided by BUCHEN and XERVON. All in all, these two REMONDIS subsidiaries performed thousands of individual tasks involving industrial cleaning work, catalyst services, scaffolding, maintenance work, surface technology and insulation.

  • of scaffolding material were erected by XERVON so everyone was able to do their work

A wide range of specialist services

  • BUCHEN travelled to Gelsenkirchen to handle the complex industrial cleaning tasks as well as any vacuum services that were needed. A whole number of heat exchangers, columns, vessels and many other structures were either cleaned in situ or taken to a special washing area set up specifically for the TAR 2018. The reactors were emptied, cleaned, serviced and refilled by the specialists from the catalyst service division, who removed and replaced around 1,500 tonnes of catalyst material during this period.

    XERVON erected around 10,000 tonnes of scaffolding material to ensure that everyone at the site was able to perform their work. At the same time, the company delivered a number of scaffolding services involving complex structures that went far beyond the standard industrial scaffolding portfolio. The company’s maintenance work included carrying out mechanical tasks in the heart of the refinery’s two plants as well as doing piping work. Just one of the jobs here was to install new pipes on a piece of equipment weighing 100 tonnes. The surface technology experts were responsible for protecting the machines and components, such as the pipes and vessels, from corrosion. This was performed either on site or at the company’s own branches in Duisburg and Bottrop. What’s more, the group’s insulation specialists were also called in to carry out a variety of jobs including completely reinsulating a reactor.

    A large number of specialists and an extensive range of technologies are needed to carry out a turnaround

Meticulous preparation work & stringent safety standards

  • BUCHEN and XERVON had begun planning this project in detail months in advance. Besides organising the resources, materials and schedule, the team also had to focus on dovetailing the different processes required for the TAR 2018. A number of technical innovations were used during this project. A special automated high pressure jet cleaning system developed by the company, for example, was deployed to clean 23,000 distillation caps, saving time and making the work safer for the operatives.

    Quality, time and costs are all key when it comes to performing inspections. Safety, however, is at the very top of the list. BUCHEN and XERVON’s ‘safety first’ strategies have been designed to ensure the highest standards are in place – even when facing the extreme conditions of a turnaround (tight schedules, narrow spaces, different specialists working side by side etc). BUCHEN, for example, had seven life support vehicles at Gelsenkirchen to guarantee there were maximum health and safety levels on site while the catalyst services were being carried out.

    BUCHEN and XERVON had a team of over 1,000 operatives working on site at the plant during the TAR 2018

Teamwork requires perfectly dovetailed processes

    • Coordination plays a vital role in projects involving a large number of different participants. This is particularly true for turnarounds as the time needed can be reduced if the individual tasks are dovetailed to fit in perfectly with one another. When BUCHEN and XERVON deliver a range of different specialist services – as was the case in Gelsenkirchen – then fewer companies need to be involved. This means decisions can be made more quickly and it promotes teamwork, creating additional advantages for everyone involved. Once again, the two companies mastered the challenges of this project, Europe’s largest refinery TÜV inspection, conscientiously and reliably as always.

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