Home World Unique collaboration adds momentum to the Antwerp North heat network

Unique collaboration adds momentum to the Antwerp North heat network

In the port of Antwerp, several partners are working together on the first open access heat network in Belgium. Initially, Indaver and Port of Antwerp will provide a core network for industry, after which Fluvius will link up with a residential heat network on behalf of the city of Antwerp. To make heat networks economically viable, agreements with major suppliers and customers are necessary. The latter is now covered by the long-term agreements concluded by Indaver and Port of Antwerp with Boortmalt and by Fluvius with Woonhaven for the supply of heat.

Heat network to reduce CO2-emissions in Antwerp by 80.000 tons per year

The Antwerp North Heat Network underwent a long preparation phase before a final investment decision was made. The benefits for people and society are huge. When fully constructed, this heat network will be capable of delivering an annual CO2 saving of 80,000 tonnes. That is as much CO2 as 12,500 Antwerp households emit in a year. When Boortmalt and Woonhaven are connected, the heat network will immediately achieve an initial reduction of 35,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.In the future, no less than three thousand households, 7 schools and several public buildings will receive their heat from a heat network fed by residual heat from industry.  To make heat networks possible, contracts with industrial customers are a particular asset. Large players ensure that plenty of useful heat is also purchased outside the ‘heating season’, which makes for better use of the heat network. Investment support from the Flemish government also makes it possible to build this network. The ultimate goal is that the residential end user will not pay more for his sustainable heat than he does now for his fossil fuel.

Industry balances heat supply and demand

Indaver’s processing operations in Antwerp North generate a lot of heat. This is already being used for its own business processes and for electricity production. The residual heat that remains after electricity production is still suitable for heating purposes. The neighbouring company ‘Amoras’, the mechanical dewatering project of the port of Antwerp, already heats its buildings today with residual heat from Indaver.  Boortmalt, the world’s largest malting company, has its most important malting plant at some 8 km from Indaver. ith a production capacity of 470,000 tonnes per year, enough malt is produced here to brew around 16 billion beers a year.  Large quantities of heat are required during the malting process. Boortmalt currently uses cogeneration units and gas burners to produce this process heat. When Boortmalt taps heat directly from the heat network in the future, the company will save an amount of natural gas comparable to the annual consumption of approximately 10,000 families

An open access netwerk & two transport companies

The heat network in the port will consist of two major parts. For each section, a company will be responsible for construction, operation and maintenance.  The first part of the route, the heat supply to the company Boortmalt, will be built and operated by transport company ‘Warmtenetwerk Antwerpen Noord’. Partners in this transport company are Indaver and Port of Antwerp.  The second part, the residential heat supply, is being realised by Fluvius on behalf of the City of Antwerp and can count on major customers such as social housing company Woonhaven, which will connect its buildings with some 3,200 homes in the Luchtbal and Rozemaai districts to the system.

A special feature of this network is that it will be an ‘open access’ network: it will be open to additional suppliers and/or customers of heat who wish to join at a later stage. This is the first open access network to be realised in Belgium.


“For Indaver, waste is not an end product”, says Indaver CEO Paul De Bruycker. “We supply the residual heat from the thermal processing of waste to Boortmalt and, in time, also to residential areas, schools and public buildings. In this way we are closing the loop and offering a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. This project is an example of the industry’s commitment to help achieve climate targets effectively.”

“The transition from fossil to renewable energy is not only a question of more green electricity or clean fuels”, says Annick De Ridder, chairman of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp and Antwerp Alderman responsible for the port. “Making heat more sustainable is also essential, in order to heat buildings or create process heat for industry. The Antwerp North Heat Network will use process heat not only for industry but also to heat buildings in the city, good for a reduction of 80,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. In this way the Port of Antwerp, together with local partners, is once again taking the lead in the transition to a climate neutral port.

“Together with the Antwerp city government, we want to halve emissions on our territory by 2030. The Antwerp North Heat Network is essential for this”, says Tom Meeuws, Alderman for the Environment of Antwerp. “We are helping both households and industrial customers on the road to climate neutrality. By connecting social housing in the Luchtbal and Roozemaai districts, this network embodies like no other the social climate transition that we consider so important.”

Yvan Schaepman, CEO of Boortmalt: “Sustainability is at the heart of our business strategy. We are determined to help make a difference. We are working on a series of concrete targets in line with our SBTi 1.5°C commitment to halve our carbon footprint by 2030. But, we are taking it one step further and are already looking at how we can bring our emissions to ”0” well before 2050. We also believe in the power of cooperation to achieve these ambitions. This project fits right into this approach and we are particularly proud of it, as Antwerp is our largest site and our headquarters are located here.”

“Together with the extensive renovation of the existing building stock, the connection to the municipal heat network is one of the main pillars of Woonhaven Antwerp’s sustainability policy“, says Wouter Gehre, general manager of Woonhaven. “By connecting the Rozemaai and Luchtbal houses, the heating of around 3,200 social housing units in the North of Antwerp will eventually be CO2free. Thanks to the cooperation with the various partners, Woonhaven will be able to guarantee its social tenants an easy-to-use heating system that will not be any more expensive than a conventional heating system running on natural gas.”

Karel Van Butsel, Head of Product Management Heat at Fluvius: “Fluvius has concluded an intensive long-term partnership with the city of Antwerp to drastically reduce CO2 emissions through the construction of a city-wide heat network. We are therefore very pleased that the partnerships with Indaver and Port of Antwerp in this project give us the opportunity to use the sustainable residual heat from the port for the benefit of Antwerp residents and in particular for the social housing and flats at Woonhaven. After all, it is only through such intense and loyal cooperation with all stakeholders that we will succeed in meeting the climate targets. Other Flemish cities and municipalities that, like Antwerp, want to use sustainable residual heat to lend force to their climate ambitions will find a trusted partner in Fluvius.”

“Both industry and local governments are crucial partners in making the energy transition in Flanders a success,” says Flemish Minister of Energy and Climate, Zuhal Demir. “Heat networks are the technology of today and of the future, because the most climate-friendly energy is the energy that does not need to be generated. By reusing heat that would otherwise go to waste to keep both Antwerp businesses and households warm, we avoid 80,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. This benefits the port of Antwerp, the city and all its inhabitants and visitors.”