Konarka - New Bedford, MA


Konarka is a fast growing photovoltaic company out of Lowell, MA with operations in New Bedford, MA.  They are a leader in OPV (organic photovoltaic) technology – a 3rd generation solar technology that is rapidly emerging to compete with silicon based 1st and 2nd generation solar technologies.  Their primary product line is Power Plastic is a photovoltaic material that captures both indoor and outdoor light and converts it into direct current (DC) electrical energy.


Konarka had decided to modify their process and change their base solvent to a chlorinated constituent that required water scrubbing downstream of their existing thermal oxidizer.  To address this new requirement they purchased a new thermal oxidizer from Durr, a leading supplier of industrial cleaning and filtration systems, with a downstream scrubber that was designed to handle the new solvent. After the purchase, Konarka realized that they needed help with the installation of the new unit and contacted SPEC. SPEC immediately set up a conference call with both Konarka and Durr to quickly identify the project requirements and timeline. SPEC’s experience installing similar thermal oxidizers at other clients’ sites made us an excellent partner for Konarka on this project.


The project consisted of satisfying a list of installation requirements provided by Durr to Konarka, which ultimately provided the contractual basis for SPEC’s scope of work. SPEC ensured that all of the required infrastructure: power, utilities, structural concrete pad, site work, etc. were designed and installed to meet Massachusetts code and satisfy the unit’s requirements. The timetable for this project was particularly important since the unit was expected to ship in June, with all installation requirements completed by its arrival at Konarka’s facility, and start up in July 2009. SPEC had less than three months to help Konarka prepare for the thermal oxidizer delivery and installation.

Project Highlights

  • Permitting – SPEC’s engineering staff provided stamped drawings for submittal for a building permit required for the concrete pad. SPEC’s construction team worked with the Fire Department and the Building Inspector to obtain the proper permits and ensured that all design requirements were met. They also followed up with the local authorities at the end of the project to close out the permits.
  • Schedule – The project execution was accelerated because SPEC was brought on after the product had been ordered. In order to meet the tight schedule, SPEC prepared permit level drawings to submit to the town for approval prior to final construction drawings being completed. This allowed us to obtain the permit and subcontract the site and concrete scope early so that we could have the pad poured and cured in time for the arrival of the equipment.