BioWanze, Belgium's leading producer of renewable ethanol and a subsidiary of German giant Südzucker, has taken a crucial step in its quest for zero-carbon production.
The bioethanol manufacturer recently unveiled its second biomass boiler, a major €54-million investment that reinforces its commitment to environmental sustainability.
A strong commitment to sustainability and reducing CO2 emissions
The new biomass boiler, standing at an impressive 28 metres high and 55 metres wide, aims to propel the Wanze site, in the province of Liège, towards 90% green energy autonomy by 2029. This ambitious initiative was welcomed at the inauguration by Walloon ministers Willy Borsus and Philippe Henry, responsible for the Economy, and Climate and Energy, respectively.
Fuel diversification at the heart of innovation
The new biomass boiler, built close to the first plant, uses an innovative combination of wood chips, pellets and miscanthus. This diversification of fuels is designed to optimise energy efficiency while reducing the plant's carbon footprint.
Significant reduction in CO2 emissions
BioWanze's transition to biomass is part of an overall strategy to replace natural gas with renewable energy sources. This approach enables the plant to save up to 55,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, strengthening its resilience in the face of fluctuating gas prices and ensuring long-term financial stability.
A sustainable and innovative production process
The modern technology used in the new boiler allows for a distillation process requiring very high-pressure steam. This steam is then expanded in a turbine, generating 20 megawatts of electricity, 4 megawatts of which is fed back into the grid as green energy.
Local purchases at the heart of the approach
The wood is purchased less than 350 kilometres from the plant, thus promoting the local economy and reducing the transport-related carbon footprint. Trucks unload the biomass at the rear of the new hall, where an imposing grapple draws from the storage areas to feed the boiler directly.
Towards total energy autonomy
Thanks to this new biomass boiler, BioWanze is aiming to increase its proportion of green energy from 65% to 90%. While this is a significant step forward, projects are underway to explore solutions for the remaining 10%, including producing biogas from residues.
Impressive financial results
Despite the effects of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on the markets, BioWanze posted a turnover of €405.3 million for the 2022-2023 financial year, underlining the company's robustness.
An example for Walloon industry
BioWanze, part of the Südzucker Group, is positioned as an example of energy efficiency and sustainability in Walloon industry. The Minister of the Economy, Willy Borsus, hails it as a "model site for Wallonia", underlining its crucial role in the region's economic recovery.
BioWanze continues to demonstrate that the energy transition is beneficial to both the environment and economic prosperity. By investing in cutting-edge technology and focusing on local sources of renewable energy, BioWanze is paving the way for a greener, more sustainable industry.
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