Belgium has sought ways to transform aspects of its economy to be more aligned with circular economic principles, with a renewed focus on reusing and recycling goods where possible. The country, which remains heavily dependent on nuclear energy, is also seeking to develop considerable renewable energy generation capacity, including offshore wind projects in the North Sea.
As part of a wider trade mission from Belgium to Denmark the theme of developing sustainable economies was tabled. One of the options discussed was a broadening of the sustainable energy solutions for cities in Belgium; as well as the development of a specific project, leveraging the final, non-recyclable household waste from more than one million citizens in Antwerp, and burgeoning district heating networks across the city.
Ramboll has been tasked with supporting ISVAG, the company responsible for processing the non-recyclable household waste, explore the options and know-how related to waste-to-energy technology; to turn the 190,000 tonnes of residual waste annually into energy that can be input into the district heating system.
As part of the agreement between the parties, a letter of intent was signed by Thomas Rand, Managing Director of Ramboll Energy, in the presence of their Majesties the King and the Queen of the Belgian. The knowledge provided by Ramboll to ISVAG will, it is hoped, allow the latter to be a first mover in the district heating space in Belgium, while leveraging the full, and final, potential of Antwerp’s waste.
A spokesperson for Ramboll said, “Belgium – and ISVAG in particular – is looking to Denmark for best practice as Denmark has a well-established district heating network that makes it possible to recover all the energy in the processed waste. Ramboll has prepared the outline design and will prepare tender documents required for the establishment of the facility once the final decision on the architecture has been taken.”