Port of Antwerp-Bruges supports the transition to a climate-neutral society with NextGen District, a hotspot for the circular economy. The commitment of two new concessionaires, Plug and Ekopak, is crucial for this cluster in the heart of the Antwerp site.
hese projects, a green hydrogen plant and a progressive water plant, make an essential contribution to circularity in the port. In fact, Plug has ambitions to become the world’s largest producer of green hydrogen.
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The location near the largest chemical cluster in Europe combined with the ambition of Port of Antwerp-Bruges to become a major hydrogen hub for Europe were decisive factors when Plug chose NextGen District.
The American hydrogen solutions provider has signed a concession agreement for the construction of a green hydrogen production plant. Through a combination of locally produced solar and wind energy and purchased green electricity, it will produce 12,500 tons of liquid and gaseous green hydrogen per year for the European market.
Green hydrogen plays a vital role in the transition from the use of fossil fuels to green energy. In addition, the energy crisis in Europe has accelerated the demand for green hydrogen development projects
Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug.
In addition to Plug, Ekopak will also take up a spot in NextGen District. The Tielt-based water recycling company, in a joint-venture with water-link and the Flemish investment company PMV, will install a progressive water plant at the site, named project Waterkracht.
This company will convert the wastewater from the inhabitants of Antwerp treated by Aquafin into the much higher quality level of sustainable cooling water that the companies in the port can reuse. At full capacity, the plant will produce up to 3,000m³/hr of sustainable cooling and process water so that minimum 20 billion litres of wastewater can be reused on an annual basis. Via a pipeline network, water-link distributes the circular cooling water so that all industrial companies on both the left and right bank can use it.
Ekopak also aims to process local rainwater and wastewater from NextGen District into sustainable process water, encouraging fully circular water use. In addition to its core focus on wastewater reuse, Ekopak will also work to increase circularity by converting waste streams into steam production and providing compressed air and fire-fighting water.
Circular water use is essential for the sustainable growth of a port. Our ambition is to reduce NextGen District’s water footprint to an absolute minimum. Moreover, with this project Ekopak can make a significant contribution to improving the port’s sustainability
said Pieter Loose, CEO of Ekopak.
After applying for the necessary permits, the objective is to be operational by 2024-2025.