“Beauty” and “waste” are seldom mentioned in the same breath—except when in the presence of a Geometrica waste-management structure.
Design, vision, environmental impact... all are elements necessary to develop modern waste management facilities that also recover energy and supply electricity to communities. Geometrica specializes in domes that make these "green" initiatives possible, while looking architecturally stunning.
Best Designed Project in the United Kingdom
"The Marchwood Energy Recovery Facility opened in 2007, looking for all the world like an ethereal spacecraft," says Francisco Castaño, president of Geometrica. It is, instead, a complete power plant that supplies electricity to more than 22,600 homes, according to Veolia (UK).
The energy recovery project proves that social value and careful design can elevate even a waste treatment facility into a thing of beauty. The dome, designed by renowned French architect Jeanrobert Mazaud, now conceals and beautifies an incinerator facility with only the twin chimneys stretching upward through the elegantly curved roof. The original concept, if built with conventional hot-rolled steel, called for more than 1,000 tons of superstructure. The Geometrica dome, using galvanized structural tubing joined with high-strength aluminum hubs, weighs less than 300 tons.
Since its completion in 2007, "The Silver Dome" has become a stunning shoreside icon in the United Kingdom community of Southampton, Hampshire, which also plays host to the two great ocean liners, the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Queen Mary. The facility is a leading example of best environmental practice and design for waste management in the United Kingdom and won the 2009 Best Designed Project Award by Partnerships Bulletin (formerly Public:Private Awards). This organization promotes best practices and recognizes innovation and excellence in public infrastructure projects using private finance. But the real prize is that nearby families are now warmed by newly generated power as an industrial jewel graces Southampton Water. See a short video of the building process here.
The First of its Kind in the Middle East
Word of mouth brought Geometrica into a new project. Marchwood Dome contractors who had worked side by side with Geometrica shared news of a challenging project in the Middle East. The Qatar Domestic Solid Waste Management Center project was foundering, because no engineering firm could match the designer's vision of a distinctively designed dome. The plans included sweeping curves, a whimsical silhouette, a skirt, and a span of 100 meters. Geometrica designs some of the world’s largest free span domes, trademarked as Freedomes®, and this became a solution for a seemingly impossible architectural feat.
The Domestic Solid Waste Management Center (DSWMC) first began operation near Mesaieed, Qatar, in October 2011. The facility treats and processes domestic solid waste for the whole of Qatar - recycling select materials and using organic waste to generate various forms of energy. More than 95% of the waste is reclaimed or converted into energy, with less than 5% of the materials entering the facility diverted to a landfill. The facility is capable of treating up to 2,300 tons of domestic solid waste per day, and incinerates approximately 1,000 tons of other waste.
Keppels Seghers, the Singaporean engineering firm contracted to design, build and operate the Green Waste Storage Composting Plant, was involved early in the process. They sought a roof structure under which yard and garden waste, tree cuttings, as well as food and kitchen products such as expired vegetables or peels could be processed. The material is received at the Composting Plant and is subsequently shredded, screened and stored inside the Green Waste Storage facility. Grab-cranes then feed the material into anaerobic digesters which further break down the waste and produce biogas which is eventually translated into a form of power generation.
To house the green waste breakdown process, Keppels Seghers required a structure that could span the large, open space of the building, without internal support columns to interrupt the flow of materials and waste. Initially, Keppels Seghers designed the structure as a large steel framed roof with trusses. However, after considering the advantages of the Geometrica system, Keppels Seghers decided to change the design of the structure to a Geometrica dome. “We were already aware of Geometrica's systems,” said Geoffrey Piggott, the Keppels Seghers director of the Qatar facility. “But they visited us, and gave us an impressive proposal that was aesthetically attractive, cost competitive and had schedule advantages to us as well.”