Renescience Northwich

Renescience is the first facility of its kind in the UK to use new technologies recovering resources from waste and generating renewable electricity through treatment with enzymes, mechanical sorting and anaerobic digestion.

We provided consultancy services from concept design, planning, detailed design through to construction on this traditionally procured scheme; presenting the project to the planning committee that successfully approved the scheme at the first time of asking.

The plant comprises a waste bunker with overhead crane, reception hall, pre-sorting areas, bioreactor hall, sorting and loading halls as well as associated offices and control room.

External facilities include an anaerobic digestion tank farm, CHP engines, main stack, gas flare, ancillary storage sheds, a water treatment plant plus weighbridges and parking.

Key details

Project name
Renescience Energy from Waste


Northwich, England

Services provided

  • Architecture
  • Structural engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Building services
  • Fire engineering
  • Planning
  • Public consultation
  • EIA
  • CDM / principal designer


This was a world first project with no precedence to rely on as an example. This combined with a challenging delivery programme and budget resulted in a number of wider challenges including: 

  • Tight timescale - the programme was driven by the need to achieve first operation by April 2017 in order to gain Renewables Obligation support
  • A heavily constrained site
  • Challenging programme and budget
  • Client’s insurers requirements
  • Assisting with the development, coordination and delivery of an innovative and complex process solution for a company who’s vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy.
REnescience Efw - Project image 2.jpg


We prepared the environmental permit application alongside the planning application, EIA, ground investigation, and animal by-products application. The documents were fully prepared in-house drawing on efficiencies with the EIA assessments and included permit specific assessments and plans including a Fire Prevention Plan, Application Site Condition Report, detailed Odour Management Plan and H1 Assessment. As the first plant of its type to be permitted under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR), careful consideration was given to presentation of the BAT Assessment for the Ørsted enzymatic technology.

We were additionally appointed to provide the architectural and engineering design of the facility. To meet the extremely challenging programme and budget, we developed a close working relationship with the client and technology designer to provide an innovative solution. Concrete from the previous site structures was crushed and reused for capping and sub-bases wherever possible so as to reducing clean material being brought to site.

A building envelope solution was selected that reacted directly to the internal environment with single skin cladding used to large areas of the un-heated process spaces in order to reduce the embodied carbon within the envelope. Natural lighting was also introduced into the process halls to reduce the need for artificial lighting and the energy required to produce it without introducing additional heat gains.

A site wide drainage solution was developed that separated the site into zones, provided containment and attenuation in order to prevent potential contamination and reduce run-off into the existing local watercourse.


Building Information Modelling (BIM) and software including Autodesk Revit and Navisworks were used as an essential part of the design process. This helped co-ordinate the facility with the complex MHP and process equipment through the use of clash avoidance and further assisted in developing a collaborative working environment. The use of BIM was also used to help streamline sustainability by saving time, improving efficiency, enhancing design, reducing errors and providing a quantifiable opportunity for the building’s lifelong environmental impact to be lessened in line with sustainable construction’s whole philosophy.

The EA issued the environmental permit in September 2017, leaving a matter of months to discharge pre-operational conditions and allow the facility to be brought into operation. Due to the tight timescale we worked closely with the EA to secure advance notice of likely conditions to ensure rapid discharge of conditions could be achieved.

We subsequently supported Ørsted in the preparation of the commissioning phase plan, accident management plan, and energy efficiency plan and provided support to regularise minor technical changes to the design prior to its operation. In conjunction with our in-house design and engineering team RPS also discharged the pre-operational condition confirming all containment structures at the site had been designed and constructed fully in accordance with BAT and CIRIA guidance.

With our support Ørsted discharged all pre-operational conditions in time to achieve its operational deadline.

Project statistics

waste treatment capacity
homes equivalent waste treatment capacity
homes can be powered by energy generated
baseload electricity generation
potential recyclable material recovery rate
commercial scale waste to bioenergy plant using new enymatic treatment technology
plant of its type permitted under UK Environmental Permitting Regulations

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