ECLUSE wins Belgian Energy and Environmental award

ECLUSE, the steam network that is currently being constructed in the Waasland Port, is the proud winner of the Belgian Energy and Environmental award in the ‘sustainable energy’ category. The panel praised the exceptional way in which this project contributes to a sustainable future at a local, regional and national level. For Indaver, the ECLUSE-project is consistent with its efforts to deliver sustainable energy for the circular economy. “We are developing a world-scale project”, says Indaver CEO Paul De Bruycker. “This project also proves that “Circular Flanders” is not some far-off dream and that we can achieve great things if we combine forces.”

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is the future, not only for electric power and heat in homes, but also for process heat in industry. At present, industry uses mainly fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil. There is a more sustainable alternative: re-using steam that is generated as a by-product or residual heat from industrial incineration. That is what ECLUSE does. As from 2018, ECLUSE will be supplying steam from Indaver and SLECO waste-to-energy facilities to neighbouring companies. 

Circular economy

Participating companies can meet their own steam or heat requirements supplied from ECLUSE through five kilometres of pipelines. This will enable them to make their own energy supply more sustainable since it eliminates the need to burn gas themselves. This means they are due to cut their annual CO2 emissions by 100,000 tonnes. This is equivalent to the CO2 savings achieved by fifty standard wind turbines. ECLUSE provides these companies with a secure and sustainable alternative at a competitive tariff. ECLUSE thus fits in perfectly with the role Indaver plays as an enabler for the circular economy. ECLUSE is in fact an extension of the steam pipeline that has run for years between Indaver and INEOS Phenol. “We have been drawing steam from Indaver dating back to 2001”, says Marcus Plevoets, plant manager at INEOS Phenol. “This has meant years of lower CO2 emissions compared to our conventional gas-fired boilers.”

Six consumers are signing up to ECLUSE

Currently, five Waasland Port companies have promised to shut down their gas-fired boilers completely or partially and to draw steam from ECLUSE for the next ten years: ADPO, a logistics partner for the chemical industry; chemical manufacturers Ashland, Monument Chemical and INEOS Phenol; and LANXESS, a rubber and plastics manufacturer. On the return leg, the condensate pipeline will also heat the buildings of a sixth company, DP World-Antwerp Gateway. Steam is of major importance to the companies in their industrial processes. “Manufacturing phenol and acetone is very energy-intensive”, says INEOS Phenol’s Marc Plevoets. “Steam is used for this as a source of high-grade heat, mainly for the distillation of our products. A mix of internal and external steam supplies also adds to the overall reliability of the plant.” ADPO uses steam for purposes that include heating liquids in tanks, as well as cleaning these tanks and the associated piping. ADPO managing director, Filip De Dijcker says “Signing up to the ECLUSE project meant that we had no need to build new boilers  of our own – which amounts to a substantial cost saving. What is more, it will also save us future costs: maintenance, additional manpower and, of course our gas bill are factors that come to mind.”

World-scale project

A well-thought-out steam network like ECLUSE offers consumers a high degree of flexibility, provided the steam generator and the consumers are close to one another forming an industrial cluster and long-term commitments are undertaken. In Western Europe, and certainly in Belgium, we worry constantly that companies believe their energy bills to be too high and will move their production to a country that is less expensive. By offering them more cost-effective and largely green steam, not only are we giving them the ability to increase their sustainability, we are also ensuring that companies and the jobs they bring with them stay here. “In any case there won’t be any shortage of steam in the region anytime soon”, says Indaver director Rob Kruitwagen. “In Doel we have six furnaces in operation to incinerate our waste. We are constantly generating more steam than we can deliver. ECLUSE output capacity is also capable of being doubled with the passage of time and following its initial success.”

Environmental award as recognition

Even though ECLUSE is still in the middle of its construction phase, it hasn’t stopped it from amassing a string ofr awards. Last year the project picked up the very first sustainability award from the Antwerp port community. Now the Belgian Energy and Environmental award. ECLUSE’s partners are satisfied. “This is the second recognition that ECLUSE has received on account of its sustainable nature”, says Paul Verbeeck, chairman of the board of directors of ECLUSE. “This strengthens our conviction that we have made the right choice with this partnership for the next generations.”

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