Extra sustainable steam in Delfzijl

AkzoNobel, Eneco and Groningen Seaports invest in future-proof chemicals cluster


As of December 2016, AkzoNobel in Delfzijl shall purchase steam that will be produced by Eneco in a sustainable manner. For this purpose, the energy company will make its Bio Golden Raand biomass electricityplant suitable for the production of steam as well as electricity. This means that, in the future, the plant will generate double the amount of sustainable energy using the same amount of biomass and, thereby, will contribute significantly to the achievement of the national objectives in this area.

Groningen Seaports will be responsible for the construction of the required infrastructure, including a steam pipeline that will also be accessible to other parties. The joint multi-million euro investment fits in seamlessly with the Eemsdelta chemicals cluster action plan (Actieplan Chemiecluster Eemsdelta) drawn up by the Willems Committee in 2014 aimed at enhancing the sustainability of the energy-intensive chemicals sector in the northeast region of the Netherlands and making it future-proof.

It has been agreed that AkzoNobel will purchase the sustainably produced steam for a period of twelve years and will ensure the continuity of its supply by investing in the necessary facilities at Chemie Park Delfzijl and by supplying steam to its customers. “Together, we make a significant contribution to enhancing the sustainability of the chemicals sector. The availability of steam that is produced in a sustainable manner at a competitive price strengthens the position of the energy-intensive chemicals sector, now and in the future” says Knut Schwalenberg, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals. “It results in a significant reduction of our CO2 footprint, a central aspect of our sustainability strategy: Planet Possible, doing more with less.”

In addition to being less dependent on fossil fuels, the use of sustainably produced steam also reduces AkzoNobel’s CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons per year. This corresponds to the emissions of around 12,500 households or one billion kilometres travelled by car.

Hugo Buis, Director of Eneco Bio, Solar, and Hydro is pleased that the switch to the production of both steam and electricity by the Bio Golden Raand plant can now commence. “We were able to make the decision to retrofit the facilitaire after a period of extensive consultation. It was made possible by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs - who adjusted the framework for subsidizing projects such as this - and by the constructive collaboration with AkzoNobel and Groningen Seaports. The advantages with respect to sustainability will be substantial. With the same amount of biomass of approximately 300,000 tons of wood chips from recycled wood waste per year, we will be able to produce twice as much sustainable energy.”

Harm Post, Director of Groningen Seaports indicates that the effect for the seaports will be twofold. “On the one hand, it is an investment in enhancing sustainability in the area and can be considered to be one of the first major successes of the work carried out by the Willems Committee. On the other hand, it is an investment in the future of Groningen Seaports. The construction of our own steam pipeline means that we can offer lower steam transmission costs than commercial companies and can apply a longer depreciation period. Consequently, steam will become cheaper. This will enable us to offer an extra service for potential businesses and will have a significant positive effect on the business climate in this area.”