Port of Antwerp-Bruges: close cooperation between the chemical industry and energy transformation in Europe

Port of Antwerp-Bruges: close cooperation between the chemical industry and energy transformation in Europe

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges will be organising the second “Chemistry & Energy Summit” in Burghausen on 16 May 2024 in order to explain the ​ essential relationship between the chemical industry and the energy sector and to initiate a fundamental process of dialogue. This summit will emphasise the significance of adopting an all-embracing approach to current challenges and opportunities as well as the need for close cooperation between both key industries to enable a future that is emission-free.

Hydrogen is viewed as a key building block along the journey to climate neutrality in Europe. According to forecasts published by the German government, Germany alone will require at least 110 terawatt hours (Twh) of hydrogen by 2030 – and the needs estimated by the business world are actually much higher than this figure. Key hubs such as the Port of Antwerp-Bruges are already creating the necessary infrastructure to guarantee that industry’s energy supplies in Germany and Europe will be sustainable and reliable.

Several projects are currently being completed at the ports sites of Antwerp and Zeebrugge in Belgium – and they are designed to pave the way for climate neutrality for European industries. One of the showcase projects related to the energy revolution is the former refinery site in the port area, which is currently being transformed into a new hub for green energy. The Vopak Energy Park Antwerp site, which measures 105 hectares, will not only offer access to the sea, but also to various transport networks, including inland waterways, roads and rail services – and to pipeline links to north-west Europe, which will make it possible to supply hydrogen and hydrogen carriers to the important business centres there. The port platform is ideally located at the centre of Europe.

Open-access import terminal

Alongside these developments, the construction of an open-access import terminal is continuing at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges. The goal is to already transport sustainable ammonia to the chemical industry in the vicinity and to European destinations further inland via the terminal by 2028. This innovative project is being managed by the following companies – Fluxys, Advario Stolthaven Antwerp and Advario Gas Terminal – and is designed to help provide reliable supplies of green ammonia for the whole of Europe.

Demonstration plant for converting ammonia

The French gas corporation, Air Liquide, is also investing in an innovative pilot plant at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, which will make it possible to covert ammonia into hydrogen with the lowest possible carbon footprint. This demonstration plant, which is being supported by the state Flanders Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), is being built on the BASF site and is set to cut emissions.

This is just one of many companies operating within the port’s eco-system, which are making their contribution to developing hydrogen as a key technology for the energy revolution.

Promoting a fundamental dialogue

“The chemical industry in particular is currently facing enormous challenges: the increase in competitive pressure driven by higher energy prices, changes in the demand situation and the partial relocation of value-added chains overseas pose a threat to Germany as a centre of business,” says Tom Hautekiet, the Chief Business Development & Transition Officer at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges. “The Port of Antwerp-Bruges is aiming to actively support industry’s efforts to face up to these challenges, among other things, by promoting energy supplies based on hydrogen and adopting measures to separate, store and subsequently use carbon dioxide. The port also views itself as a facilitator in the communications between all those involved in the search for strategies to resolve the problem.”

The “Chemistry & Energy Summit” on 16 May at Burghausen Castle provides a platform for people to share ideas and strategies to combat the current challenges for the chemical industry. Focussing on sustainability and innovations, experts from the chemical industry and the energy business will together discuss how the future of the sector can be shaped.

The speakers will also include Thomas Van De Velde, the Senior Vice President Base Chemicals at Borealis. Borealis AG is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced polyolefin solutions that are geared towards a circular economy and is a European market leader in the field of the mechanical recycling of plastics. With its business sites in Antwerp and Burghausen, among other places, Borealis is closely associated with the chemical industry’s industrial centres in Europe. “As part of the Borealis strategy of reinventing the basic needs for sustainable life, we’re aiming for a significant reduction in our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, particularly through switching to 100% renewable energy sources for our European plants,” says Thomas Van De Velde. “We’re putting our trust in competitive, reliable and renewable energy initiatives and projects in Europe in order to support our ambitions.”

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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 communicatie@portofantwerpbruges.com

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
Zaha Hadidplein 1
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