Circular economy

North Sea Port views residual streams, CO2 and waste as valuable raw materials that play a key role in the circular economy. By making use of innovative solutions, materials that would otherwise be dumped or lost are used for new purposes.

Waste flows 

One good example of how synergy occurs between the companies in the port area is that waste flows from one company become raw materials for the other. Below is a list of some of the initiatives. 

From fertilisers to aubergines 

Quite a lot of heat and CO2 are released during the production of fertilisers. The residual heat and CO2 are not lost, but are supplied to market gardeners to heat their glasshouses. Aubergines, for example, enjoy optimum growth with the heat and CO2. 

Hot water from paper mill keeps car manufacturer warm 

The paper mill in the port uses a pipeline to send hot water underneath the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal to a car manufacturer 2 kilometres away. This residual heat is used in the car plant to ensure that the buildings and spray booths are at the right temperature. This water is then returned to the paper mill for reuse during production. As a result of this, the car plant can shut down a number of gas-fired boilers and reduce its CO2 emissions by 15,000 tonnes per year (which reduces CO2 emissions by no less than 40%). The pipes also run underneath a cycle path, which remains ice-free during the winter due to the heat from the pipes. 

 

Recycling 

We also view waste as a potential raw material. We not only encourage companies to produce less waste, but also to exchange and recycle it. Scrap cars, train wagons and dismantled ships are processed into scrap metal. This scrap is then recycled further into consumer products or can be used by the steel industry. Waste paper is also recycled into new newspapers. 

Pipelines

We want to maximise the reuse of existing pipelines that run between companies. For example, a 12-kilometre natural gas pipeline that had fallen into disuse was made suitable for safe and efficient transport of hydrogen. 

A study is currently being conducted in the North Sea Port area to explore the roll-out of a large-scale cross-border pipeline infrastructure. These pipelines are an important tool for reducing CO2 emissions in the port area and enabling the transition to a circular economy. An additional advantage is: the more transport can be carried out by pipeline, the less this has to be done by road and water. The results of the study are expected in the autumn of 2019.