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Sweco collaborates on new energy recovery plant

Energy company E.ON Power Plants Belgium will reuse syngas, a residual product of chemical company Imerys Graphite & Carbon (IGC), in a new Energy Recovery Plant. Sweco was already tasked with the concept engineering of this new plant and is now responsible for the detailed engineering.

The synthetic gas or syngas (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas) produced by Imerys will be used as an energy source for a new power plant. The planned flue gas cleaning will greatly reduce emissions, resulting in a significant improvement in air quality. The new Energy Recovery Plant (ERP) with a capacity of up to 29 MW will generate enough electricity to power the Imerys site and 40,000 households in the region throughout the year.

Challenging energy project

Filip Verheyen, Division Director Industry at Sweco Belgium, is enthusiastic: “I am delighted that E.ON Power Plants Belgium has entrusted Sweco with the detailed engineering and site engineering assistance. Indeed, the entire project revolves around the sustainable recovery of syngas at the Imerys production site to power a new ERP. This is totally consistent with Sweco’s strategy to help accelerate the energy transition.”


“Given the tight deadlines, it does make for a challenging project. Completion is already scheduled for the 2nd half of 2025. Fortunately, we can move quickly thanks to our multidisciplinary expertise and our ability to engage in co-engineering with different partners. What’s more, we have some additional assets available to us, such as our Fit for Use project methodology and the fact that sustainability is embedded in all our designs.”

Added value through targeted expertise

Tom Van Den Noortgaete, Division Director Energy & Environment at Sweco Belgium, adds: “This project perfectly illustrates the importance of multi-stakeholder cooperation and the benefit of cross-border expertise. We are highly familiar with this sustainable project at Sweco, as it dates back to 2018 with a study on hydrogen opportunities at business parks instigated by POM Antwerp.”


“Sweco uncovered this opportunity at the time and juxtaposed a trio of hydrogen valorisation scenarios, including this particular concept. We started working on the concept design in 2020. Our work has culminated in the detailed design of this high-performance power plant of up to 29 megawatts.”

Positive impact on the environment
On the one hand, by generating electricity from the energy recovery plant, CO2 emissions of more than 25,000 tonnes per year from conventional electricity generation can be avoided (based on average CO2 emissions from electricity generation in Flanders). On the other hand, the project will use flue gas treatment (e.g. DeNOx and DeSOx systems) and thus contribute locally to improved air emissions by reducing sulphur and nitrogen emissions.

Sustainability at E.ON and Imerys
E.ON Power Plants Belgium belongs to the German E.ON Group and specialises in the development, realisation, financing, operation and optimisation of plants for locally generating heat and electricity, which can be combined as cogeneration.

Imerys is the world leader in the production of mineral raw materials for industry. The Willebroek site specialises in graphite and carbon solutions. One of the products it makes is carbon black, a black powder used as a conductive additive for lithium-ion batteries and polymers. Imerys plans to expand its carbon black production capacity to meet growing demand for lithium-ion batteries that play an important role in the energy transition.

Figure: © E.ON