Europe’s first specially designed recycling facility M.A.R.S. in Port of Frederikshavn, Denmark. Photo: Port of Frederikshavn


Europe’s first specially designed recycling facility for ships and offshore structures has been established in a Danish harbour

When the enormous platforms from the North Sea arrived at Port of Frederikshavn last week, it wasn’t to end their days in a landfill. The platforms are going to EU’s most environmentally friendly and specially designed recycling facility, which has been established by the American company Modern American Recycling Services (M.A.R.S), with Danish advisor NIRAS as partner.

Behind the new recycling plant stands Modern American Recycling Services Europe, abbreviated M.A.R.S. Two accommodation- and process platforms from the Tyra gas Field recently arrived at Port of Frederikshavn in the Northern region of Denmark. Tyra Field is the largest gas field in the Danish Sector of the North Sea. Their two platforms, Tyra East of 14,000 tons and Tyra West of 8,000 tons have reached end of life and are to be decommissioned and recycled. Approx. 95% of the platforms are expected to be reused.

The American company aimed at establishing the world’s most environmentally friendly and competitive recycling plant at a strategic location in the EU, and consequently directed their focus towards the Port of Frederikshavn. M.A.R.S. selected NIRAS as their environmental advisor for the project.

NIRAS’ assignment was to unite the client’s practical and functional needs with a way in which to drive the business with minimal environmental impact. This required several authoritative permits and required several innovative solutions, which NIRAS in cooperation with M.A.R.S., the Port of Frederikshavn, and the Municipality of Frederikshavn managed to realise.

Giant site

The facility constitutes a 90-metre-wide ship ramp and a 9,000m2 area specially designed for large and heavy offshore structures. The entire recycling facility and associated hinterland areas spreads 290,000m2 – the equivalent of 40 soccer fields. The site has been tailored to meet M.A.R.S.’ specific needs and was established as part of the ongoing vast expansion of port of Frederikshavn.

The giant area enables the company to receive the largest ships and offshore structures and to dismantle, recycle and pile steel and handle waste fractions on site. The site also enables storage of assets from these prior to re-entering the market. This ensures a unique competitive production process, as the facility design allows for multiple projects to proceed simultaneously.

New standards for decommissioning 

Denmark and the EU have strict environmental regulations. NIRAS have investigated relevant requirements for decommissioning and recycling. They also attained all necessary permits, to enable M.A.R.S. to run their business in Port of Frederikshavn in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner. The facility was adopted on the EU’s lists of responsible recycling plants in late 2018.

Many challenges exist when receiving, deconstructing, and recycling ships and decommissioned discarded offshore structures in an environmentally sustainable manner. We’re talking enormous structures and complicated work processes. To manage this in the most environmentally sound way, M.A.R.S. will execute rigorous mapping and will devise specific recycling plans for each ship and structure before commencing the work operations. The company hereby ensures, that all waste fractions are handled and managed correctly, both out of concern for the environment and from a work environment perspective.

Rain- and wastewater management

By incorporating sustainable solutions from the beginning, NIRAS, together with the Port site construction advisor, contributed to ensure deliverables beyond just a functional recycling facility plant. Specific surface water management has been included in the scope of deliverables, which has ensured membraning of the entire site area. A tailored water collection and handling system together with treatment of surface water, meet the environmental demands.

NIRAS has designed a water treatment plant, to handle the large amounts of surface water from the site. The treatment plant includes two large-scale buffer tanks and a chemical water treatment unit. The treatment ensures that metals, heavy metals, and other pollutants will not harm the waterbody, as pollutants are cleaned to comply with strict environmental demands.

Foto: Port of Frederikshavn

 Photo: Port of Frederikshavn