20 billion litres of circular cooling water per year for Antwerp port companies
Today, Aquafin, Ekopak, PMV, and water-link announced its collaboration with PMV and water-link to convert the treated waste water from Antwerp households into cooling water for companies in the Port of Antwerp by 2025. The collaboration is a significant milestone in the transition to a sustainable port.
A new, high-tech purification installation will be built. As of 2025, the Aquafin system will treat and convert 20 billion litres of waste water into a much higher quality of cooling water on an annual basis. This is the equivalent of the water consumption of over 600,000 inhabitants. This means that water-link will significantly increase its capacity to supply process water in the port and confirms its role as a reliable partner for the industry. Today, the supply is more than 50 billion litres. This is sourced from the production centre in Oelegem that draws from the Albert Canal. The use of a circular, alternative water source reduces the pressure on freshwater resources and prepares for future sustainable growth.
Water-link, PMV, and Ekopak has set up a joint venture that will develop the cooling water plant. The company is named Waterkracht and is a pre-eminent example of public-private partnership. Waterkracht is in talks with the Port of Antwerp with regard to building the forward-looking water purification installation for this project on a plot in the NextGen district. This form Opel site will be converted into a circular hub in the port. Ekopak will build and run the installation. The membrane technology will purify the waste water for subsequent industrial applications. ‘With this project, Ekopak can make a significant contribution to making the entire port sustainable. We are convinced that our expertise and know-how will help make this project a success with a higher liability of supply for all involved parties,’ said Pieter Loose, Ekopak CEO.
SUPERB ALTERNATIVE WATER SOURCE
The purified waste water is first supplied from Aquafin’s sewage treatment plant on Moerstraat, which is centrally located in the port area. But two to three additional water purification installations in the region are also being considered. Here, the household waste water of the people in Antwerp is treated according to European and Flemish standards. Jan Goossens, Aquafin CEO: ‘Purified waste water is an excellent source for a variety of reuse applications. You can purify it to any quality as long as the necessary additional processing steps are built in. Structural applications in industry lend themselves perfectly to this.’
Aquafin will build new pipelines to transport the purified waste water directly to Ekopak’s post-treatment facility in the future instead of discharging it as surface water. Infrastructure is still needed for transport to the purchasing companies. The collaboration project therefore involves more than just the construction of the cooling water plant. A new pipe distribution network in the port, developed by PMV and water-link, will ensure that industrial customers on both the left and the right bank can use the circular cooling water. In this way, this project offers added value to the entire port community.
CONTRIBUTING TO THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN FLANDERS
The direct and indirect investments for this project amount to more than 100 million euros. The parties involved entered into a preliminary agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) to make the establishment of the joint venture possible. Michel Casselman, PMV General Manager: ‘Projects that contribute to the successful continuation of the transition to a circular economy in Flanders must find funding for this project. With this investment, we want to offer a solution to one of the biggest challenges in this area, the reuse of water.’
Waterkracht will be one of the largest water reuse projects in Flanders and even far beyond. Franky Cosaert, Water-link CEO: ‘Circularity in action, that’s what this project means to us. From 2025 onwards, we will be able to supply high-quality, sustainable cooling water to our industrial customers in the port. By using purified waste water as a source, we are also taking an important step in ensuring continued security of supply for all our customers, from households to businesses.’
Ekopak is an ESG driven company that markets circular water solutions. Ekopak’s solutions offer industrial customers the opportunity to significantly reduce their water consumption from the water mains network in a sustainable, dependable, and cost-effective manner. To this end, Ekopak focuses on optimising water consumption with container water treatment units that convert off-grid water sources, such as rainwater, surface water, and/or waste water into purer water that can be used and reused in the customer’s industrial processes.
All Ekopak shares are listed on Euronext Brussels (ticker EKOP).
PMV is an investment company shaping the economic future of Flanders. PMV finances promising companies from the very beginning through their growth and internationalisation. PMV offers tailored financial solutions to all entrepreneurs with a good business plan and a strong management team via capital, loans, and guarantees. Moreover, in collaboration with various partners, PMV implements with and for the government projects that are important for prosperity and well-being in Flanders. PMV manages a 1.4 billion euro portfolio.
The world cannot exist without water. People, businesses, and the living environment must always have access to water of the right quality, at the right time, and in the right quantity. This water must be supplied within the security of well-designed supply and drainage infrastructures.
Water-link offers this security through the production, distribution, and recycling of water. Water-link develops knowledge, shares it, and works on innovative solutions to safely and securely provide water to people and business at all times. This is how Water-link wants to inspire everyone to really use the power of water.
Aquafin is responsible in Flanders for the financing, development, and operation of the supra-municipal infrastructure for sewage treatment. The company purifies waste water so that streams and rivers become clean again and water is in harmony with the living environment. Aquafin strives to achieve its objectives in a socially responsible manner. Which is why we are open to all initiatives that explore the sustainable reuse of purified waste water.