Testing a revolutionary technology to recover more heat and emit less CO2 in complex chemical processes. To this end, the international chemical company Borealis and the Belgian start-up Qpinch have started a demo installation in Zwijndrecht. It is the first commercial-scale application of this kind of technology. If the scale-up is successful, Borealis also wants to apply it at other production sites in the rest of the world. Qpinch was a finalist of the essenscia Innovation Award in 2016, reaching an important milestone.
Mimicking natural chemical reactions that take place in the human body in order to recover large amounts of industrial waste heat. That is the essence of the unique Qpinch technology. By using a chemical process, the temperature of residual heat from production processes, which would otherwise be lost, is significantly increased so that it can be reused for industrial use. In contrast to conventional heat pumps, this is done with a minimum of power consumption.
Borealis and Qpinch, a spin-off from Ghent University, joined forces in 2018 and have now started up a first commercial-scale test installation at the polyolefin production site in Zwijndrecht. This will allow Borealis to save approximately 2,200 tonnes of CO2 annually, which corresponds to the annual emissions of approximately 1,500 small cars. If the technology can be successfully scaled up, the intention is to integrate it into other Borealis production sites in other parts of the world. The technology is scalable from 1 to 50 megawatts (MW).
The Borealis site in Antwerp is thus playing a global pioneering role in testing the technological capabilities and the upscaling potential of this patented technology for greater energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. The project received environmental support from the government of Flanders.