Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “Belgium”

Formation European Offshore Wind Foundation Alliance

Five European offshore wind foundation companies have formed an alliance, named OWFA, in order to streamline coordination with the EU and kindly remind the latter of its ambitious 2050 decarbonization program (and shove in the billions while they are at it).

The objectives in their own words:

  • Advocate for EU policy supporting the ramp-up of offshore wind in line with the Green Deal targets and adding European jobs in line with the Industrial Strategy;
  • Ensure foundation suppliers take the lead in setting standards and certification processes that concern them;
  • Establish a level playing field ensuring the sustainable manufacturing of offshore wind foundations;
  • Make sure EU member states maintain sufficient maritime space for offshore wind projects.


[] – OWFA consortium site

Jan de Nul OWF Installation Fleet

[] – Jan De Nul Orders Imeca Pile Gripper for Les Alizés

Offshore Wind Update

The Danish offshore wind park “Kriegers Flak” is halfway completed. 36 of the 72 Siemens Gamesa 8.4 MW wind turbines are in place and the rest will be until June, according to installer Jan de Mul of Flanders.

[] – Kriegers Flak Wind Turbines Halfway There

More interesting is the breakthrough of offshore wind in Eastern Europe, with a bang really. Poland gave the nod to 2.5 GW Baltica 2&3 via a “contract for difference” scheme:

[] – Poland Awards 2.5 GW Baltica 2&3 with Contract for Difference

But the greatest news is:

[] – Ireland to Get 1.4 GW Floating Wind Farm, Green Hub

Ireland will have a large floating wind farm off the West coast, build by Norwegian contractor Equinor. This technology will greatly expand the potential regions where offshore wind can be applied, even deep onto the ocean, which is interesting for Japan, China and the US.

SeaH2Land – Industrial Green Hydrogen

Today, Danish wind champ Ørsted has presented plans to develop an industrial green hydrogen project, backed by clubs like Yara, ArcelorMittal, Dow Benelux, Zeeland Refinery, North Sea Port, Smart Delta Resources, Province Zeeland en Province Oost-Vlaanderen, clubs that recognize a dime if they see one.

The plan: produce 1 GW hydrogen from a new 2 GW offshore wind park, to be located in the southern part of the Dutch exclusion zone, to be realized before 2030. Apparently, this planned new wind park is not part of the broad offshore wind picture so far:

The encouraging aspect is that the industry is pushing for extra wind capacity, independent of Dutch government stimulation programs. Offshore wind apparently doesn’t need any stimulus anymore, not even wind + hydrogen! And why should the industry hold back, if earlier this week, EU-commissioner Frans Timmermans virtually declared war on fossil fuels. All signs are green for, well, green energy.

[] – Ørsted ontwikkelt een van de grootste duurzame waterstoffabrieken ter wereld voor de Nederlandse en Belgische industrie
[] – SeaH2Land project
[] – Ørsted Unveils Plans for Large Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Project
[] – Gas has ‘no viable future’ in Green Deal Europe, EU vice president warns industry

Voltaire Mega-Jackup Vessel under Construction

Main crane: over 3,000t
Operating depth: over 80m
Payload: 14,000t
Personel: 110 persons
Start operations: 2022
First project: Dogger Bank 3.6 GW, Haliade-X 12 MW turbines
Ultra-Low Emission vessel.

[] – Jan De Nul Lays Keel for Mega Jack-Up

Hornsea 1.4 GW Ofshore Wind Farm on Track

The construction of what will be the largest wind farm in the world (1.4 GW), is on track to be completed in 2022. The Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm will comprise 165 Siemens-Gamesa 8 MW turbines and installed 89 km NE of Grimsby in the UK by the Belgian installer ship “Innovation” from DEME. Already 20% of the foundations are in place and the first turbines can be installed.

Next are Hornsea 3 (2.4 GW, 2025) and Hornsea 4 (2027). The exact size is unknown as the available turbines get bigger and bigger.

[] – Hornsea Wind Farm
[] – Construction of World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Stays On Track

How is a Transition Piece Made?

The transition piece connects the monopile with the tower.

[] – Company site

[source] Transition pieces of the Dutch Gemini offshore wind farm, sticking just above the water level

The Importance of a Reliable Wind Forecast

If in the future demand management is going to be applied, a reliable wind forecast will be of the utmost importance for the industry and its needs to plan its production ahead.

[] – Martien Visser

Thin Film Solar Efficiency Record of 25%

Thin film solar efficiency is catching up with traditional pv-solar. The coordinating University of Leuven in Belgium and partners within their PERCISTAND consortium have achieved an energy efficiency of 25 percent with a thin-film solar cell. Even higher efficiencies are in the cards, the aim is 30% in three years.

Estimations suggest that increased efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) appliances above the Shockley-Queisser single-junction limit is related to the creation of tandem devices. The EU-funded PERCISTAND project will focus on the development of innovative materials and processes for perovskite on chalcogenide tandem appliances. The project will focus on four-terminal tandem solar cell and module prototype testing on glass substrates. The goal is to obtain efficiency, stability and large-scale manufacturability for thin film PV that will be competitive with existing commercial PV technologies. The results of the project will support the EU in regaining predominance in thin film PV research and production.

[] – Breakthrough: thin-film solar cells generate as much energy as traditional solar cells for the first time
[] – Percistand consortium
[] – Horizon Europe
[] – Development of all thin-film PERovskite on CIS TANDem photovoltaics

Largest Jack-Up Vessel Voltaire Operational in 2023

The Voltaire is the third Offshore Jack-Up Installation Vessel and the first next generation offshore installation vessel of Jan De Nul Group. With her unrivalled crane capacity of over 3,000 tons, this jack-up vessel will be able to support the renewable energy industry to build the future wind farms

Turbine transport and installation at the first two 1.2 GW phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm will be the first assignment for the world’s largest offshore jack-up installation vessel owned by Jan De Nul – the Voltaire.

[] – Mega Jack-Up to Officially Debut on World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

3D-Printed Houses Update

Westerlo, Belgium

3D-house printing could mean the end of the misery of all these shanty towns around the world. As a rule-of-thumb, a family can afford and finance a home that costs 3 times the yearly income. For $4000,- that means almost everybody on the planet. By the turn of the century, all people around the world living in a 3D-printed home, with a flat panel, space-based internet and solar panels on the roof, is a positive and realistic vision, something to work towards.

[] – 3D-printed model home by Kamp C in Westerlo
[] – Grand Design: How 3D Printing Could Change Our World
[deepresource] – 3D-Printed Home for $4000,-
[] – How 3D Printing Can Help Power the Energy Industry


[] – This building in Dubai is the largest 3D-printed structure in the world — and it took just 3 workers and a printer to build it

Sarens Cranes in the Wind Industry

[] – Sarens

Hydrogen Filling Stations in NW-Europe

Netherlands: 15 hydrogen filling stations in 2020, 50 in 2025 and 200 in 2030

Norway E18 Highway 2020

Belgium first hydrogen filling station in 2018

Denmark building a hydrogen filling station in 48 hours, 2013

Floating Vessel Crane Collapse

Set-back for the offshore wind installation industry. A German-made crane (Liebherr), mounted on a Chinese-made offshore wind installation vessel, owned by the Belgian-based DEME Group, collapsed in the German harbor of Rostock during initial load tests. The ship was about to begin the construction of the 950 MW Moray East wind farm in Scottish waters. The exact cause is yet unknown.

[] – DEME
[] – Liebherr Group
[] – Accident on board of offshore installation vessel ORION 1 at the occasion of and during crane load tests

Sewage as the Heat-pump Cold Side


Homes can be heated much more energy efficient with a heat pump than a conventional CV-with-boiler. Heat-pumps pump heat from a source to the target, your home. That source can for instance be air, or a pipe-grid buried in your garden. The trouble is, in the winter the air is cold, where the heat pump works best with the smallest possible temperature difference between source and target (21 C). The magic formula in the world of heat pumps (and your fridge is one of them) is:


Q is the heat we want to pump in your living room, W is the “Work” (preferably emission-free renewable electricity) we need to get the heating job done.

The relationship between the lower temperature of the source TL and the higher temperature of your living room TH is:


Under good conditions COP values of 4 or higher can be achieved. A COP-value of 4 means that with a heat pump and 1 unit of electricity we can achieve the same heating result as with 4 units of electricity in a electric heater. “Good conditions” means: a as high as possible source temperature. Air in the winter can be 0 C or lower. The soil in temperate climate like NW-Europe is something like 10 C, which is already much better. The point is though that soil is a bad heat conductor, meaning that as you gradually extract heat from the soil, the temperature of the soil decreases, as the surrounding soil is not able to keep the temperature constant fast enough.

That is where the sewage idea comes in. Temperature sewage water: 10-15 C, which is high. And it flows! Meaning, there is a constant supply of (smelly) water of 10-15 C!. Brussels is now contemplating to use the sewage fluids as a heat source. In Raalte in the Netherlands they already have a swimming pool heating system working based on this idea. In Brussels and Raalte they have smelled a rat… err smelled the coffee!

[] – Can we heat buildings without burning fossil fuels?
[] – Sewage water heating pool water
[] – Heat pump and refrigeration cycle

The Raalte swimming pool has been heated with sewage heat since 2013. From the nearby sewage treatment plant, ‘clean’ sewage water with a temperature of 10-15 degrees Celsius is pumped towards the pool. Heat exchangers are installed in the pipes. The pool water is then brought up to temperature with a heat pump.

Sewage in Dutch is “riool”. Hence the word “riothermal”, prompting associations with the Copacobana rather than your toilet. In 2018 three Dutch swimming pools are heated this way (COP 5-6) and claim to be the world’s first. Additionally in Goes they are building a system for 60 homes:

The Goes project. Other pilot schemes exist in Amstetten in Austria, Glasgow in Scotland, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Belgium Integrates Offshore Wind Power Into European Grid

Energy Cost Webserver

Online LowTech Magazine has a privately-owned dedicated web server to run their sustainable magazine, powered by a 50 Watt solar panel and 0.17 kWh battery.

During the period under study (351 days), the solar powered website received 865,000 unique visitors. Including all energy losses in the solar set-up, electricity use is then 0.021 watt-hour per unique visitor. One kWh solar electricity can serve almost 50,000 unique visitors. This is all renewable energy and as such there are no direct associated carbon emissions.

If there is not enough sunshine, the site is offline. Yet the site was available for 98.2% of the time, with a downtime of only 152 hours over almost a year.

[] – How Sustainable is a Solar Powered Website?

Hydrogen Bus in Pau, France

[] – Pau unveils first of 8 hydrogen fuel cell buses
[] – Französische Stadt nimmt Wasserstoff-Schnellbus in Betrieb
[] – Van Hool’s Fuel Cell Bus Awarded Bus of the Year at Busworld
[] – Van Hool

Trafigura Takes Over Nyrstar

[Source] Nyrstar factory in Budel

This blog reported earlier about the Zinc smelter Nyrstar. This company is interesting in the light of the potential of metal powder as a fuel, as well as the Metalot campus that should promote the “circular economy”. The company was on the verge of going broke, but was saved by the Belgian trading company Trafigura.

[] – Trafigura to Take Over World’s Second-Largest Zinc Smelter
[] – Trafigura krijgt zinksmelter Nyrstar in handen
[] – Meer Nyrstar-geld voor Trafigura-topman
[deepresource] – Nyrstar – The Next Royal Dutch Shell?
[deepresource] – Metalot Campus

Developments in Offshore Wind Jack-Up Market

New offshore wind installation mega-vessel “Voltaire”, able to lift 3,000 ton, ordered by Jan de Nul, Belgium, scheduled to become operational in 2022.

According to Bloomberg there are merely a dozen ships in the world that can install a large offshore wind turbine, which is understandable with a list price of ca. 300 million euro per ship. Currently almost all these vessels are operating in European waters. Europe is uniquely blessed with ca. 600,000 km2 shallow water with high wind speeds (North Sea, Baltic and Irish Sea, together an area larger than France) that can be utilized for offshore wind, in principle enough to supply the entire EU (300 GW on average), three-five times over.

[deepresource] – The Giants of a New Energy Age
[deepresource] – European Wind Energy Potential
[deepresource] – The Enormous Energy Potential of the North Sea
[deepresource] – Unleashing Europe’s Offshore Wind Potential 2030

Principle offshore wind installation vessel illustrated. About one turbine foundation can be realized per day or 4 per week, if fetching a new batch in port is included. The next generation is 10 MW, 13 MW is in the pipeline. Take the Netherlands: 13 GW average electricity consumption. That could be covered by 1,000 wind turbines, or 2,000 rather, if a conservative capacity factor of 50% for large turbines is taken into account. That’s 500 weeks or 10 years installation time. So, a single ship can realize the electricity transition of a country like Holland in a decade. For 100% renewable primary energy we need to calculate twice the amount of electricity consumed today, that’s only two decades! Productivity could be significantly enhanced if a simple cheap barge and tugboat is used to fetch a new batch of 4-6 monopiles from the harbor in Rotterdam, Vlissingen or Eemshaven, while the expensive installation vessel Aeolus merrily hammers away full-time. In that case 4,000 13 MW turbines could be installed in 4,000 days or 11 years. Note that in the mean time a lot of additional solar and onshore wind capacity has been, c.q. will be built. In conclusion: this single ship Aeolus is able to complete the energy transition of the Netherlands, the #17 in the global GDP ranking before 2030, not 2050 as the EU demands. Most likely developing sufficient storage capacity will be the real bottleneck, not electricity generation capacity.

1600 GW waiting to be raked in. EU average power consumption 300 GW. The old continent has no conventional fossil fuel reserves worth mentioning, fortunately Europe doesn’t need to. Armed with the Paris Climate Accords, Europe effectively dissed everybody else his fossil fuel reserves and is offering a viable alternative instead.

Some recent developments in the fields of offshore jack-up vessels:

[] – Offshore Wind Will Need Bigger Boats. Much Bigger Boats
[] – Vessels and platforms for the emerging wind market (pdf, 108p)
[] – DEME’s giant installation vessel ‘Orion’ launched in China
[] – A2SEA Invests in a New Jack-up Vessel
[] – Construction Progressing for Next Gen Vessel
[] – Offshore Vessels Demand for Offshore Wind Activities
[] – Jan de Nul orders new installation vessel
[] – Getting ready for the next generation of offshore wind projects
[] – Jan De Nul Orders Mega Jack-Up
[] – Massive hike by Wind Turbine Installation Vessel Market
[] – Japan joins offshore wind jack-up brigade
[] – Wind Tower Service Firm Plans to Build Jones Act Ships
[] – New design jack-up vessels to strengthen Ulstein’s offshore wind ambitions
[] – Flurry US offshore vessel deals prepares market for huge turbines

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