Tyre Derived Fuel Project

Client - Golden Bay Cement Date - 2021

Stimulating and challenging are two words that describe the TDF project at Golden Bay Cement (GBC) Portland – a brownfield industrial project that enables the plant to burn shredded End of Life Tyres (ELTs) as part of their fuel mix. 

Golden Bay Cement is the country’s fifth largest carbon emitter. The rubber biofuel substitution has reduced emissions by 13,000T PA, replacing the need for 15,000 T of coal and 5000 T of iron sand¹. 

GRIT was engaged to support the TDF project with a wide range of services including, construction management for civil works, structural engineering & design, temporary works/heavy lifting engineering, protective coatings and refractory advice.  

Rob Aubrey, GRIT’s Senior Civil Project Manager, oversaw all excavations, trenching and thrusting operations. He was also responsible for the safe and efficient execution of concrete construction works for the foundations, structures, paving and drainage systems.  

Many complex hurdles (typical of brownfields projects) were encountered during construction works such as limited access, minimal as-built information resulting in unplanned service and foundation clashes, working around live plant, multiple concurrent work fronts, short shutdown periods for execution, among many others. Rob resolved these on the run using practical, fit for purpose solutions and a collaborative approach with both design teams and contractors. 

A number of exceptionally large lifts were required to move equipment around and through the site, in some cases over live plant. GRIT Lead Structural Engineer, Erik Thomson, provided engineering support based on his extensive heavy lifting experience. Erik assessed and reverse engineered the existing structures and equipment to be moved to confirm that they could adequately take the additional loads they would be subjected to. He produced the installation methods and then supported the local contractors during the intensive site installation programme with on-the-spot resolution of any queries. This ensured the work was done safely and ran as smoothly as possible. 

Due to our extensive industrial structural experience and ability to be responsive, GRIT was tasked with the urgent delivery of a structural steel lattice pipe bridge. With limited as-built information available (related to existing structures) the structural team modelled a structure with large installation tolerances and produced detailed hand sketches of the structure to help minimise lead time. GRIT worked with the fabricators, reviewing and developing shop drawings to ensure the details had been interpreted correctly. The structure was fabricated, coated, inspected and installed without any issue and within the tight timeframe. 

Thanks to our ongoing relationship with the GBC engineering team, GRIT was given the opportunity to provide direction and advice related to durability, specialist coatings and refractory linings. This has resulted in some interesting investigations and challenges around internal coatings in process equipment and refractory lining related to the TDF project. 

GRIT is grateful to have been part of this exciting project. Our team loves this type of challenging and rewarding engineering work and consider this project valuable not only for reducing the plant and NZ’s carbon footprint but also for the contribution it has made to the Northland economy. 

“Working with Grit Engineering gave our internal engineers the flexibility to focus on integration & operational aspects of our recent major plant upgrade. Jason and the team were able to provide Project/Construction and Design support for our main civil works program, sub-projects including service relocations and temporary works/heavy lift engineering.
Based on site with us for over 12 months, Rob integrated well and became a key member of the team – addressing client requests, resolving design/constructability issues, and managing subcontractors.”
Steve Noakes – Project Engineer/Manager, ‘End of Life Tyre’ Project

Click here to learn more about the Golden Bay Cement sustainable disposal solution for End of Life Tyres (ELTs).



Golden Bay Cement sustainable disposal solution for waste tyres a New Zealand first. Fletcher Building, March 31 2021. Golden Bay Cement sustainable disposal solution for waste tyres a New Zealand first | Fletcher Building

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