ECLUSE wins Sustainability Award

The ECLUSE project, that will substitute the energy supply of several chemical companies in the Waasland Port by a heat network, has won the very first Sustainability Award of the Antwerp Port community. The project won by a large margin the votes of the expert jury and the public. Three other nominees were Qpinch, Gyproc and BASF Antwerpen. When heat network ECLUSE will have reached its full capacity, it will be one of the largest industrial heat clusters in Europe. It will be responsible for the production of no less than 10% of the total amount of green heat in Flanders, thus making a major contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement which entered into force November 4th.


To replace large-scale chemical companies’ energy supply based on natural gas by a heat network, that is ECLUSE’s scope. The energy for the network is produced in the waste-to-energy plant of waste INDAVER and SLECO, where six waste incinerators produce steam for a total capacity of approximately 250 MW. Grid management company INFRAX will build the network. Decommissioning the individual gas-fired boilers and replacing them by a central steam network, results in a total CO2 reduction of 100.000 tonnes per year. This is similar to the CO2 reduction of 50 standard 2,3 MW wind turbines. To enable future growth, the network was designed for a higher capacity so it can expand to account for reduced emission of 200,000 tons of CO2 or an equivalent of 100 wind turbines.

Today the steam is converted to electricity in steam turbines. Once the steam network is operational, the steam will be delivered directly to neighbouring industry to a maximum extent. This is much more energy efficient and contributes to a large extent to the anchoring of chemical industry in this region. For this reason, essenscia, the Belgian federation of the chemical industry and life sciences, supports this network.

“To take home this first Sustainability Award, a mere two months after signing all the contracts, is the icing on the cake”, says Paul Verbeeck, chairman of the Board of Directors of ECLUSE. “A CO2 reduction of 100.000 tonnes per year, saving fossil fuels, stimulating renewable energy, anchoring the chemical industry in the Waasland Port,… these are only a few of the many advantages that steam network ECLUSE will bring. We are tremendously proud to be able to realize this with our partners and to help build a more sustainable society.” This first Sustainability Award also means the inauguration of the Walk of Sustainability, a sustainable promenade at the base of the new Port Building. Each winner of this biennial award, will receive an engraved stone, which will be inlaid in the promenade.

Sustainable front runner

The Sustainability Award is an initiative of the Antwerp Port Company, the left Scheldt Bank Corporation and VOKA-Alfaport (Flanders Chamber of Commerce). Since 2011 they have been the driving force behind the biennial sustainability report of the Antwerp Port community. The common thread through this report is the Antwerp Port’s ambition to continue to be front runner in creating sustainable added value. This ambition was made even more clear as from this year with the biennial Sustainability Award.

A total of 20 companies and organisations responded to the appeal for candidates for the award, which was launched at the beginning of summer.  Who they are and what they stand for is described in a handy brochure, which can be consulted by clicking on the link below.

The jury of seven men and women was lead by Port-elderman Marc Van Peel and the province governors of Eastern Flanders and Antwerp.  They chose 4 candidates out of 20. Next to the winner ECLUSE, the short list was made up of Gyproc, producer of gypsum cardboard, BASF Antwerp which submitted a project with socalled ‘pioneerstudents’ and Qpinch, which recovers residual heat. “Sustainability has many faces in the Antwerp Port. With this award, it is our intention to encourage people to discover them. They can also serve as a source of inspiration for other companies in and around the port area”, concludes Marc Van Peel.