The European Metropolis of Lille is to build a "heat highway" to transport the energy produced by waste incineration to heat buildings in Lille and Roubaix.
The heat produced by the Antares plant will cover the annual heating needs of 40,000 homes.People in the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL) will soon be eyeing their trash cans differently! In early 2017, MEL announced its major "heat highway" project: 19 km of pipelines to transport the energy produced by waste incineration in the Antares plant to district heating networks in Lille and Roubaix.
Antares is the name of the MEL’s waste energy recovery center in Halluin. Every year it treats the 350,000 metric tons of non-recyclable trash generated by the 90 municipalities in the area. Waste releases energy when incinerated in very high temperature furnaces. More than 500 GWh per year. That’s a lot. Far too much to ignore.
Until now this energy was recovered by the plant to produce electricity. But this short circular economy loop didn’t fully exploit the waste heat. Hence the "heat highway” project.
By 2020, 40% of the heat produced by the plant will be transported - in the form of water heated to 120°C - to heating networks in Lille and Roubaix. Enough to cover the annual heating needs of 40,000 homes.
MEL has entrusted this mission to Covalys (65% owned by Veolia), for a period of twelve years.
With this system, MEL is taking a big step towards the energy transition. Right now most heating networks are powered by so-called "carbon" energies: gas, as well as coal. Transporting green energy in the "heat highway" will limit the city’s dependence on fossil fuels.
A big step towards the energy transition
With all the consequent direct benefits. First of all, for air quality, which will be improved because there will be fewer fine particles in the atmosphere caused by burning coal.
And then there is the energy bill. With the anticipated depletion of fossil resources (oil, coal, gas, etc.), the price of heating is climbing. Which is not the case of clean energies. So the heat produced in Antares from waste is the equivalent of purchasing 5 million euros’ worth of gas per year.
PHOTO CREDIT : © Veolia