Europe supports the Furec project

The Furec program, run by German energy company RWE, aims to produce carbon-free hydrogen from household waste that has so far been incinerated. The gas thus obtained should be directed mainly to the local chemical industry. The European Union has decided to support this project, which will serve as a demonstrator for other areas and potentially different uses, including mobility.

The historical region of Limburg colors part of 3 countries: Belgium near Liege, Germany in the Aix-la-Chapelle region and Holland with Maastricht. Let’s take a closer look at the Dutch localization. Limburg, located in the southeast of the country, is one of its 12 provinces. It has a population of 1.1 million, some of whom live in Zevenellen, about fifty kilometers from Maastricht. Between 2, the Chemelot industrial park, which covers more than 800 hectares and is home to many companies in the chemical sector. It is directly related to 2 sites Furec program (Fuse Reuse Recycle = Combine, reuse, recycle)each has to accommodate one of the 2 plants needed to ultimately obtain more virtuous and carbon-free hydrogen.

2 factories

A pre-treatment plant will be installed in Zevenellen, where non-recyclable solid public waste will be turned into pellets. It will be able to process 700,000 tons of material that was previously considered undesirable and burned annually. This is equivalent to the amount of household waste produced by approximately 2 million people each year, twice the number of residents of Limburg, the Netherlands. Half of this volume should consist of biogenic waste, especially paper or textile products. Hydrogen coming from this share will be considered green. The rest appears as a carbon-free product from the circular economy.

Next, go to the Chemelot industrial park for all the pellets to be subjected to the gasification operation, after which 54,000 tons of hydrogen per year will be synthesized. This corresponds to production by electrolysis, using energy from a 700 megawatt offshore wind farm, according to RWE. During gasification, the co-produced CO2 will be captured, then stored or used in industrial processes.

Reduce the amount of natural gas

Thanks to the architecture built within the framework of the Furec program, the annual natural gas demand of the Chemelot park will be reduced by more than 280 million cubic meters. The energy company explains that these figures represent half of the domestic gas consumption in the Dutch province of Limburg and over the same period. It will also remove 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

If the hydrogen produced in this way exceeded demand in the industrial park, the rest would be sold to industrial companies in Rotterdam, about 200 kilometers away, or in the Ruhr, a much closer region of Germany (140 km). The promoters of the Furec project are currently preparing the grid connections that will be needed for hydrogen and CO2.


with the help of the European Union

RWE estimated that an envelope of 600 million euros was needed to complete the Furec program. Through the innovation fund, which is fully financed by the emissions trading system, Europe allocated 108 million euros to the energy company for the development of the project.

Not only does this windfall provide excellent financial support, it is likely to open new doors and accelerate movement. In particular, obtaining the necessary approvals and permits.

RWE is starting a search to identify the various entities responsible for the construction of the plants, the supply of non-recyclable solid waste of the appropriate quality, as well as the customers who will buy the hydrogen produced by the gasification envisioned by the operator. The latter benefits from the period until 2024 to make a final investment decision. Roger Miesen, head of RWE Generation SE, sees the channel developed for the Furec program as a demonstrator that serves as an example for other areas in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe.

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