Innovation hub NextGen Demo ready to welcome circular pioneers

Innovation hub NextGen Demo ready to welcome circular pioneers

With the announcement of PureCycle's plastic recycling plant, the filling-in of the first part of NextGen District, the hotspot for circular economy at the heart of the Antwerp port site, has been completed and the first spade stroke will go into the ground before the end of the year. Today, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is launching a second tender procedure for the plots available within NextGen Demo. This innovation hub is part of NextGen District and is aimed at pioneers looking for space and support to test their projects before scaling them up to a commercial level. Thanks to the input and responses following the first call, in late 2021, the offer has now been further refined and tailored.

Innovation hub within NextGen District

Port of Antwerp-Bruges offers a site with a total area of 88 ha for NextGen District with the ambition to set up a hotspot for circular economy. NextGen Demo is a zone within this cluster in the heart of the Antwerp industry, where demonstrators can test new technologies and circular demo projects that have outgrown the lab on a larger scale and in an industrial environment before proceeding to commercialisation.

Global gamechangers

Meanwhile, the appeal of NextGen District has attracted global pioneers within the circular process and manufacturing industry, who are giving 'end-of-life products' a second or third life there. US-based Plug, for instance, is investing in a green hydrogen plant, Bolder Industries will recycle car tyres, Ekopak is committed to circular water use and, thanks to Triple Helix, polyurethane foam and PET dishes will be recycled into new raw materials. On top of that, PureCycle last week confirmed a large-scale investment in a plant that will recycle polypropylene (PP). ​ With these gamechangers, the filling in of the first part of NextGen District is now complete and construction of the facilities will start this year.


For the filling-in of NextGen Demo, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is looking for candidates (start-ups and scale-ups, spin-off companies and pilot projects) active in sustainable and innovative chemical and energy technology. With a specific focus on technologies within four domains: Waste-to-X (chemicals/fuels), CCU (Carbon Capture & Utilisation), bio-based technologies and renewable energy storage and H2 technologies.

The industrial port network with top global players and diverse ecosystem will contribute to synergies between the players at NextGen Demo, NextGen District and the other port companies. In addition, the top logistics location, available peripheral infrastructure, tailor-made guidance in growing to a commercial level and possibility of financial support are additional reasons for candidates to come forward. Moreover, the concept and offer were further refined and tailored to the specific needs of the demonstrators based on responses to the first candidate call at the end of 2021.

Application procedure

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is therefore launching a second call for circular pioneers to submit their project proposals via the website by 31 March 2023 at the latest. The call applies both to applicants who can start a demonstration immediately, and to applicants who need limited preparation before proceeding to the demonstration phase. After evaluation of the written project proposals and an oral explanation by the candidates, negotiations and decision to award a concession or a preparation phase will follow, followed by the signing of the concession agreement or Letter of Intent. ​

For more info on the exact scope, conditions and technical specifications: NextGen Demo | Port of Antwerp-Bruges (

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "NextGen Demo is the place par excellence where new technology is incorporated into the fascinating ecosystem of a port and industry. Demonstrators are given the space here to grow and join a valuable network of fellow pioneers, partners and customers. ​ We have refined our offering so that we are more ready than ever to welcome pioneers who are up to the challenge. We therefore look forward to innovative project proposals that contribute to circularity in the port and by extension the transition to a climate-neutral society."
Annick De Ridder, port alderman of the City of Antwerp and chairman of the board of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "This testing ground for technological and sustainable innovation will contribute to the strengthening, synergy and diversification of the port platform. Moreover, this is a top logistics location to support the transition in the Antwerp chemical cluster


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About Port of Antwerp-Bruges

With an overall throughput of 271 million tonnes per year, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a critical hub in worldwide trade and industry. The port is a crucial link for the handling of containers, breakbulk and for the throughput of vehicles. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to 1,400 companies and accommodates the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. The port provides, directly and indirectly, a total of around 164,000 jobs and generates an added value of 21 billion euros.
The ambition for Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clear - to become the world's first port that reconciles economy, people and climate. As well as growing in a sustainable way, the Port also aims to focus on its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial centre and to take the lead in the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. Together with the port community, customers and other partners, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively seeking innovative solutions for a sustainable future. High on the agenda is its responsibility for the environment and the surrounding society. 

The port sites of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are operated by the Antwerp-Bruges Port Authority, a limited liability company of public law with the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges as its shareholders. The port employs 1,800 people. Vice-Mayor of Antwerp Annick De Ridder is President of the Board of Directors, the Mayor of Bruges Dirk De fauw is the Vice-President. Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the port’s day-to-day management.

The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp