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Europe’s first built-to-purpose sustainable maritime recycling facility

Recycling 95% of a thousand-ton maritime production platform sounds ambitious. Now, doing that in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way? Almost impossible. Yet Modern American Recycling Services (M.A.R.S) has done exactly that. 

Getting to that point required partners with the same drive, ambition and commitment to excellence as M.A.R.S. and in 2015 fate intervened. At a business conference in Houston they met representatives from Frederikshavn Business Council and the Port of Frederikshavn, and both parties quickly realized that the chemistry was special. 



“The timing was just right. The harbour in Frederikshavn was expanding, and M.A.R.S saw the potential in developing the site from scratch. The strong maritime sector, combined with some of the most ambitious environmental regulations and goals in the world, made Denmark an ideal location for M.A.R.S to position themselves as a green first-mover within the sector, and functioned as a springboard into the rest of Europe,” 
Kim Thygesen Director, M.A.R.S Europe
Frederikshavn was looking for a partner with ambitions to do something special and someone committed to the local community and the sustainability agenda. M.A.R.S was looking for a site that matched their needs, both in terms of talent pool, ecosystem and governmental support. In each other, they found the perfect match. 
 
Operations began in 2019 and today the site measures 290.000m2, the equivalent of 40 football fields, and is home to Europe’s first-of-a-kind, built-to-purpose maritime recycling facility. The popping and hissing sounds from welding can be heard from afar, and customers who have seen the facility in action have described it as the world’s best. 
 
When the facility is at peak, there will be more than 200 workers employed. To make sure the facility will not lack an educated work force, the Business Council of Frederikshavn has created customized maritime-recycling courses, and 50 citizens have already passed.
“The support from the local community has been overwhelming, to say the least. We have felt extremely welcome from day 1, and have already initiated different collaborations with local institutions, both in education and requalification, ensuring a steady flow of talented, local employees,”
Kim Thygesen Director, M.A.R.S Europe

Together for sustainability 

From the beginning, the whole project was underlined by a drive towards sustainability. When designing the plant nature, climate, and the surrounding environment was factored into every decision.
 
Denmark has a strict regulatory environment regarding sustainability, and together, M.A.R.S and Frederikshavn worked to ensure the facility was first-in-class and exceeded the demands. 
 
Normally companies balk at strict regulations, but M.A.R.S saw Danish regulations as a perfect match for its sustainability ambitions. 
“The Danish environmental regulations support us in doing things the right way. You cannot cut any corners here. That way the customer knows: If it is scrapped in Denmark, it is done according to every rule,”
Kim Thygesen Director, M.A.R.S Europe
Meeting these goals took extra work. The site has a 70.000 square meter membrane, which protects the waterbody below from chemical seepage and other pollutants. And for rain-and wastewater management the ground has a state-of-the-art water treatment unit and two large tanks. But for M.A.R.S, pushing the boundaries was always part of the goal. 

21.000 ton creating 75 man-years of labour 

M.A.R.S has already been awarded the assignment to recycle Tyra East and West Field, two production platforms used in the Tyra field 225 kilometres off the Danish west coast. The combined weight of the two platforms is 21.000 tons and recycling them will create 75 man-years of labour alone. 
 
Business wise, Denmark is an important strategic location. Located in the middle of Northern Europe’s maritime hotspot, and with Frederikshavn’s easy access to offshore structures in the Nordics and Baltics, the location is perfect as a springboard for future expansion. Since coming to Denmark, M.A.R.S has already bid on 30 major tenders, even as far away as Brazil. 
 
While Denmark ranks no. 1 in Europe for ease of doing business, when establishing a state-of-the-art recycling plant,  help is always welcome. Invest in Denmark has helped guide M.A.R.S when it comes to getting in contact with authorities, government, potential partners and the like.     
“Invest in Denmark has been a huge help throughout the process and has assisted with access to relevant ministries and local authorities, as well as providing an overview over the process from start to finish. It has been a fruitful partnership, and it has been nice to feel that we have constantly been on the same side,”
Kim Thygesen Director, M.A.R.S Europe

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