Press Release: Construction begins on the ECLUSE steam network in Waasland Port: Ministers Muyters and Tommelein attend laying of first pipe.

The first pipe for the new industrial steam network ECLUSE was laid in Waasland Port this afternoon. From 2018 onwards it will transport the steam from two producers to six customers. The steam will travel through a five-kilometer network of pipes. As a result, the six customers will no longer use their own in-house steam boilers. When operational, ECLUSE will reduce emissions by 100 000 tons of CO2 per year. The Flemish Ministers for Energy and the Economy, Bart Tommelein and Philippe Muyters, were present as construction began on the ECLUSE network.

ECLUSE will construct a large network of steam and condensate pipes between the thermal installations of waste management companies Indaver and SLECO and a number of chemical companies in Waasland Port. The steam network will enable the companies to purchase steam and heat according to their own requirements.

Superheated steam is generated during incineration which is then transported through an insulated steam pipe to the users of the heat. The steam is transported at high pressure (±40 bar) and temperature (±400°C). This method of transport is very efficient and is without appreciable loss of temperature or pressure. The resulting hot water will be returned to Indaver and SLECO through condensate piping, where it will be used once again as feed water in the steam boiler.

The pipelines – a total of five kilometers in length – will be laid partly underground and partly above ground.

Working together for green energy in the port

ECLUSE is a partnership between several organizations.

Maatschappij Linkerscheldeoever , the Left Scheldt Bank Cooperation ,was an important catalyst in bringing together all the partners and in realizing a project of this nature in Waasland Port.

The actual energy for the steam network will be produced in the waste-to-energy installations of waste processing company Indaver and its joint-venture SLECO.

Paul De Bruycker, Indaver’s CEO, says: “We are launching a project of world stature here today. It is possible thanks to the contributions of all the partners and the support of the Flemish government. With this project, we are  proving that a circular economy for Flanders is not just a far-off dream, and that, when we join forces, we are capable of tremendous things.”

ECLUSE will use the expertise of network manager Infrax to lay the steam and condensate pipelines that will connect the customers with Indaver and SLECO.

Frank Vanbrabant, Infrax’s CEO, says: “Infrax does more than manage electricity, natural gas, sewage, and cable systems and networks. For some years now, we have also played an active role in laying heat grids, with projects in West Flanders, Antwerp and elsewhere. Together with Eandis, the other Flemish network manager, we want to do even more of this in the future. The ECLUSE-steam network, a ‘super-heat grid’, so to speak, is therefore an extremely important project for us.”

The water utility Water-Link and the investment company FINEG  are also shareholders of  ECLUSE.

Contract signed with AHP

ECLUSE has signed an engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance contract with the temporary alliance AHP, a joint venture of the Dutch companies A.Hak and Petrogas. These established and reputable companies carry out projects for the installation and maintenance of transport and distribution pipelines for oil, gas, water and electricity on a global scale.

Five steam customers already on board

Five companies from Waasland Port have already signed up to close down all or part of their own gas boilers and purchase steam from ECLUSE for ten years: ADPO, a logistics partner to the chemical industry; chemicals producers Ashland; Monument Chemical; INEOS Phenol; and rubber and plastics producer LANXESS. The condensate pipeline will also heat the buildings of a sixth company, DP World-Antwerp Gateway, on the return journey.

Other companies will be able to join the steam network later. When completed, the network will have the capacity to meet double the present-day heat demand. As a result of this future-proofing, ECLUSE will be ready to cater for increased future heat requirements of the six original companies.

Erik Van Hove, Plant Manager at Ashland, one of the customers, says: 

“Here at Ashland, we have a ‘Responsible Care ®’ philosophy, which makes this project a perfect fit for us. We are very proud to have been involved with the project from its inception. It is a dream for any company to be involved in the development of a sustainable project that uses energy efficiently so as to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. “ 

CO2 reduction of 100,000 tons per annum

ECLUSE is likely to be commissioned for operation at the beginning of 2018. The incineration installations will produce steam with a maximum capacity of around 250MW every year. Thanks to the direct re-use of this steam, it will produce an annual reduction in CO2 of 100,000 tons, comparable to the annual CO2 savings from 50 2.3MW wind turbines. In addition, the network has been designed so that it can grow over time, and cater for a CO2 reduction equivalent to the installation of 100 wind turbines.


The ECLUSE-project entails an investment of around 30 million euros. Part of the investment has been financed by equity. ING is the financial partner for bank borrowing.

“The energy transition demands investments and flexible solutions. As a bank, we want to play a role in accelerating this energy transition by financing innovations, sharing knowledge, and using our ecosystem,” says Emmanuel Verhoosel, Head of Wholesale Banking, Member of the Executive Committee of ING Belgium. “A bank occupies a central position in society and one of its aims is to facilitate economic growth. ING Belgium has therefore been supporting entrepreneurs and their innovative plans and projects for many years now. This enables us as a bank to create value and highlight our role.”

Flemish government supports ECLUSE

Minister for Energy Bart Tommelein is very glad that the work has started:

Bart Tommelein, Flemish Minister for Finance, Budget and Energy, says: “Green heat is an important pillar in my energy policy. Its importance is still underestimated far too often. Indaver, SLECO, Ashland, INEOS Phenol, ADPO, Monument Chemical and LANXESS are joining forces, which will bring economic advantages. They will strengthen their competitive position in Belgium and abroad in the process. But these companies are also making their very best efforts from an environmental point of view: every year they will be saving no less than 100,000 tons of CO2. As the Minister for Energy, I hope that many other companies will follow this good example.”

In addition, the Flemish government plans to lower barriers in order to make innovative, sustainable cooperation possible. The Flemish Minister for the Economy, Philippe Muyters has therefore committed 10 million euros of strategic environmental support to the ECLUSE project.

Flemish Minister for the Economy and Innovation Philippe Muyters says: “In addition to the self-evident environmental added value for Flanders, this heat network will also provide extra security for our companies. As an added form of energy supply – reliable and cost-efficient – it constitutes a further reason for sticking with the Antwerp port region, and the chemical industry will be literally anchored here as a consequence. This sustainable alliance is therefore also of enormous benefit to Flanders’ competitiveness.”

Winner of the Port of Antwerp Sustainability Award

The importance of ECLUSE has been further highlighted by the first Port of Antwerp Sustainability Award, which was presented to the project by the port community in November 2016.

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