Ineos urges Flemish government to prioritise affordable green energy

During a visit to Norway, Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon visited Ineos facilities on Monday. The chemical company, which is building an ethane cracker in the port of Antwerp, took the opportunity to call on the Flemish government to prioritise green electricity and low-carbon hydrogen.

Ineos invited Jambon, who is on a working visit to Norway with Princess Astrid, on a boat trip through the Frierfjord, where the British chemical giant has an ethane cracker and a PVC plant, producing raw materials for plastics production.

During the visit, Ineos highlighted its initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions. It already uses the hydrogen released in the cracking process as a low-carbon fuel for its ethane cracker furnaces. On the way to net zero, they aim to separate the hydrogen from the methane and capture and store the CO2.

Belgium needs renewables

Jan De Belder, site manager at Ineos Olefins & Polymer, made the link to Project One, Ineos' multi-billion dollar project in the port of Antwerp. "The furnaces in Project One are 100 per cent hydrogen ready," he said. "But the availability of low-carbon hydrogen is a challenge, both in terms of scale and cost efficiency."

Hydrogen production requires a lot of energy, and Norway has an abundance of green energy from hydropower plants, thanks to its favourable geography. "Belgium has fewer opportunities for hydroelectric power. We need renewable energy and we call on the authorities to give it full priority in the new legislature," says De Belder.

"We are doing what we can, but the technology and the science still have to develop a bit"

Jambon remains cautious, saying that Norway has natural resources that Flanders does not, and that green hydrogen is still in its infancy. "And we have to see if it is economically viable," he said. "We are doing what we can, but the technology and the science still have to develop a bit."

The Antwerp ethane cracker, which will be larger than the one in Norway, is still under construction. The company had to wait a long time for approval. While construction is now underway, environmentalists have appealed against the permit.


#FlandersNewsService | © PHTO ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

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