14 November 2011

Declaration of intent for biomass power station

Antwerp Port Authority and the Solvay multinational chemical group have signed a declaration of intent to carry out a detailed feasibility study for building a biomass power station on Solvay’s site in the port area.

The power station will have a capacity of 200 to 400 MW, enough for a significant part of the power requirements of port industry to be supplied from renewable sources. Or to put it another way, this represents the power consumption of 500,000 to 1 million households. Both parties will set up a special company to map out the main outlines of the project in collaboration with a partner who has yet to be found.

Flemish and EU conditions

Before a decision can be made to build the biomass power station, the project must meet a number of crucial conditions. In addition to the feasibility study the Flemish government will want to be sure that the project meets the Flemish and EU requirements for sustainability. Only then can key elements such as the capacity and the amount of the investment be defined and an investment plan drawn up.

Importance of biomass

Biomass is expected to be an increasingly important source of energy in future, as its combustion is carbon-neutral. In comparison with electricity generation from fossil fuels, the fuel cycle for biomass is self-contained. This makes it possible to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, in line with the objective set by the EU for 2020. Given the key features of this initiative – namely making maximum use of renewable fuels in the most efficient manner – the two partners aim to make a significant contribution to further expanding their activities in a sustainable way.

A sustainable future for the port

In its capacity as “port landlord” the Port authority has long played a pioneering role in the field of sustainable enterprise, as recently demonstrated by its plans to build Belgium's largest onshore wind farm in the port area on the left bank of the Scheldt. The ambition to build a biomass power station within the port area similarly forms part of this strategy of sustainability.

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