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Work kicked off on geothermal district heating project for pharmaceutical company in Flanders, Belgium

Screenshot of Janssen Pharmaceuticals website
Alexander Richter 4 Jun 2018

Work has been kicked off for a geothermal district heating project by Janssen Pharmaceutical in Flanders/ Belgium. The project aims to use geothermal heat to cut back on CO2 emissions in the operations of the company.

The start of work on a smart heat grid on an industrial scale in Flanders, Belgium has been kicked off by the Flemish Minister for Energy, Bart Tommelein, and Stef Heylen, Managing Director of Janssen Pharmaceutica. We previously reported on this project.

In 2017, Janssen Pharmaceuticals reported plans to invest up to EUR 40 million ($42 million) into geothermal energy. With that step the company wanted to become the first Belgian company to take the step towards geothermal energy, planning to drill a well of up to 2,400 meter depth.

The company has received funding of EUR 4 million from the Flemish Energy Agency and EUR 2 million from the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The European Regional Development Fund added EUR 1.5 million in the package.

The company plans to reheat and cool the buildings in its facilities effectively reducing the heating bill. The company can also reduce its carbon footprint by 30%.

” We have been working for many years on an ambitious plan to use geothermal energy on our site. Our energy needs are enormous and geothermal energy is an ideal solution ,” says Stef Heylen, Managing Director at Janssen.

The company plans a smart heat grid (essentially a district heating system) here for a business site such as Janssen.

A 4th generation smart heat grid is the most advanced and makes intelligent use of sustainable energy sources, water at lower temperatures and insulated pipes. Thanks to the use of water at lower temperatures, residual and renewable heat can be used optimally. The intelligent design and control of the entire system ensure that as much energy as possible is taken from the heating water.

What does the innovative Janssen smart heat grid look like?

The smart heat grid has different heat sources and users. At the same time, some of these users are also a source of heat. The most important heat source will be the geothermal power plant where the Earth’s deep internal heat is deployed to produce hot water supplemented with systems that run on gas to ensure there is a backup capacity. Water at a high temperature is used for processes, washing machines and the cleaning of equipment. Water at a low temperature is used for heating cleanrooms and laboratories.

“Thanks to a combination of the smart heat grid and soon the use of the Earth’s internal heat, Janssen can save 15,900 metric tons of CO2 per year.” – Stef Heylen, Managing Director

Climate goals

Managing Director Stef Heylen looks ahead: “Thanks to a combination of the smart heat grid and soon the use of the Earth’s internal heat, Janssen can save 15,900 metric tons of CO2 per year. This means that we are fully cooperating in realising the climate goals of Johnson & Johnson. Our joint CO2 emissions must drop by 20% by 2020 when compared to the emissions in 2010. The goal is a reduction of 80% by 2050. In addition, the used electricity must come from sustainable or renewable sources by 35% by 2020. All buildings must be supplied through 100% renewable energy by 2050.” The activities of phase 1 will have been completed in 2020; afterwards further modifications will take approximately 15 years to complete.

Source: Janssen