Chemical company Degussa Antwerpen, E.ON Kraftwerke, which operates E.ON's power stations, and electricity supplier Electrabel, which is part of the Suez Group, have signed an agreement for the construction and operation of cogeneration units. The two power companies will jointly invest E45 million in a joint venture for the combined generation of electricity and heat in Belgium.

Cogeneration is a technique for the simultaneous production of electricity and heat, which means that there are hardly any energy losses. The new cogeneration unit will have an energy efficiency of more than 85%. The present unit has a capacity of 43MW, while the new installations will produce 42MW.

To increase energy savings, the waste gas from Degussa’s chemical processes will be used as fuel for cogeneration, in addition to natural gas. The integrated plant will have an electrical generating capacity of 85MW and a thermal capacity of between 85MW and 160MW. The resulting energy savings will avoid emissions of 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The new installations will take two years to build and will enter operation around mid-2010.

Ingo Luge, chairman of the executive board of E.ON Kraftwerke, said: The agreement, as well as the new installation itself, represents a highly efficient solution which has been especially developed for the industrial site. I believe that the new power plant offers a good future perspective for our industrial partner Degussa.

Electrabel CEO Jean-Pierre Hansen added: This partnership once again confirms Electrabel’s flexibility and dynamism. We are able to offer tailor-made solutions to meet the specific requirements of our customers. Furthermore, with this agreement, we have demonstrated that we are open to solutions that let other operators enter the Belgian market.