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Published: 2019-11-04

Energy transition taking shape in Antwerp

Technology Energy transition taking shape in Antwerp

Photo: Port of Antwerp

Azteq installs Concentrated Solar Thermal pilot plant for Adpo logistics company in Beveren.

The first solar concentrator farm in the European process industry was inaugurated in the Port of Antwerp. The technology generates eco-friendly heat from concentrated sunlight that can be used by industrial companies. The 1100 m2 plant was installed for Adpo logistics company by the Genk-based energy company Azteq as part of a pilot project co-financed by the Flemish government.

Concentrated Solar Thermal energy (CST) is an innovative technology in which sunlight is concentrated by parabolic mirrors and so converted directly to heat. The temperatures reached can be as high as 400°C, thus providing high-grade heat that can be used in industrial processes. The technology produces three times as much energy per installed square meter than a photovoltaic system. Furthermore the heat can be stored in insulated containers so that it is also available for use at night. The technology is an entirely eco-friendly alternative for industrial heating requirements and so can make a significant contribution toward reducing CO2 emissions.

Until now Adpo has used gas to produce the steam that it uses for cleaning and heating tanks and containers. This requires temperatures of more than 140°C, well within the capabilities of CST technology. The CST farm that will replace 500 MWh of gas consumption annually is installed above the company's car park, above a railway line and underneath a high voltage line, fully utilizing the available ground area. The solar reflectors, each 5 m long and installed in lines of 120, follow the path of the sun and focus the incident sunlight on collector tubes. The plant is the first industrial CST project in Europe.

The plant in the port of Antwerp forms part of a project in which three pilot installations with solar reflectors are being set up in Flanders. The three plants in Beveren, Ostend and Genk respectively will generate between 1,390 and 1,260 MWh of eco-friendly heat annually. Between them these plants will cost a total of EUR 1.425m, of which 819,000 is being financed by the Flemish government.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO, Port of Antwerp, said, "[…] Together with the industry we are working to reduce CO2 emissions and make the transition to alternative energy sources, so as to become a CO2-neutral port. We aim to accomplish this by means of ambitious transition projects, using methanol, hydrogen, wind power etc. We want to be a testbed for technological innovation that helps us on the way to a sustainable future […]."

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