Infrastructure partner Fluxys Belgium started in the presence of Alexander De Croo and Tinne Van der Straeten, construction of the first dual-purpose pipeline.
Initially, this pipeline between Zeebrugge and Brussels will greatly increase the capacity for the security of supply of Belgium and neighbouring countries. In addition, this pipeline is ready for use to transport hydrogen Alexander De Croo and Tinne Van der Straeten visited the site in Lokeren (East Flanders), where pipes with a diameter of 1 metre are pushed under the road surface.
Specifically, Fluxys is building the first section of the pipeline between Zeebrugge and Brussels. It concerns the section between Desteldonk and Opwijk, accounting for a total length of 44 kilometres. This pipeline, accounting for an investment of EUR 135 million, runs parallel to an existing natural gas pipeline and was authorized by the competent authorities beginning of 2023. Completion of the works is scheduled for the end of 2023.
Given the new supply situation in Europe, with a shift in gas flows now mainly from west to east, moving fast was the message for this new pipeline. The doubling of the pipeline increases transmission capacity from Zeebrugge by 15 Gwh/h, the equivalent of the energy production of 15 nuclear reactors. Fluxys thus anticipates the increased flows van the west to the east, avoiding a bottleneck further down the grid. Increasing transport capacity from the west to the east is also central in the European plans and the federal winter plan of the federal government.
But this pipeline is also the first concrete step in Fluxys’ ambition to accelerate the energy transition. The pipeline is fully future-proof and can be immediately used for the transport of hydrogen. This is part of our plans to gradually repurpose and expand our grid to transport hydrogen. In doing so, Fluxys is contributing to Belgium’s federal hydrogen strategy to make our country a European hydrogen hub.
By using the same route, Fluxys optimises the use of (scarce) space and minimises the impact of the works on people and nature.
Alexander De Croo said, “As a country, we never experienced supply problems during the energy crisis. We are continuing our investments to secure our security of supply. With this investment, we strengthen our grid, but we also contribute to the security of supply of the whole of Europe. We are putting maximum effort into transition; in addition to a new offshore zone, we are ensuring that our pipelines are hydrogen-proof. This transition reduces CO2 emissions and is fully in line with our ambition to make Belgium carbon-neutral.”
Tinne Van der Straeten said, “This yard strengthens the supply to Belgium and our neighbouring countries and provides a response to the increased flows from the west as a result of the war in Ukraine. At the same time, we are realising the energy transition by making the pipeline future-proof for renewable hydrogen. At this climate yard, the first kilometres of the hydrogen highway will be built to get renewable hydrogen to our heavy industry, which is responsible for 30% of CO2 emissions. Following the earlier decision to triple offshore wind, this is another important milestone and crucial to greening our energy-intensive industry.”
Pascal De Buck said, “With this building site, we show our determination to tackle energy transition efficiently. All our investments have a clear focus: to accelerate the energy transition while securing energy supplies for Belgium and Northwest Europe. This yard symbolises this.”