Industrial ecology in the region creates partnerships and encourages contacts between economic and industrial operators, while promoting local economic development and environmental protection.
Dunkirk’s expertise recognised nationally
With a strong industrial tradition, the Dunkirk area demonstrates its expertise in the fields of circular economy, recycling of by-products and utilities. Our local industrial ecology has become a vector of development and attractiveness for our labour market, and is illustrated by the “toile industrielle” (“industrial fabric” model) developed by the Agence d’Urbanisme et de Développement (Town Planning and Development Agency). This powerful tool for prospecting and economic intelligence shows the main contacts and relationships being developed by local industries in terms of circular economy. For instance, warm water from the cooling circuit of the Gravelines nuclear power plant is used by the Aquanord fish farm for their activity of breeding bass and bream, and by the LNG terminal to reheat the liquefied natural gas (LNG, natural gas which becomes liquid at -161°C under atmospheric pressure), a necessary stage for regasification and the distribution of natural gas in the grid.
Numerous by-products for recycling
Residual cold and heat, waste gas, slag, dredging sludge, etc, are all by-products from different local production plants that allow synergies between the area’s industries and attract more and more new businesses.
ArcelorMittal recycles its process gas in the DK6 combined cycle plant (790MW), and the heat from its blast furnaces is used in Dunkirk’s urban heating network which has grown steadily since the 1980s. Managed by Dalkia, this network heats a host of public and private buildings in the city (hospital, Urban Community building, Town Hall, schools, swimming pool and more than 6,000 homes), with a cost saving of 15 to 20% for consumers. This example will soon be followed by other industrial facilities such as RioTinto Alcan, which should be equipped with recovery systems.
Raw materials attracting industries
The forthcoming setup of Ecocem near the ArcelorMittal works is another example of circular economy. The plant, installed on an industrial brownfield site, will convert steel slag to produce its cement and will use gas from the steelworks’ blast furnaces to supply its process. This sophisticated technology will make the end product more environmentally-friendly, technically more efficient and competitive, and aesthetic.
The Belgian group Indaver is also going to set up in Dunkirk, with IndaChlor®, a treatment and recycling plant for production residues and residual chlorine. Behind this setup, with opening scheduled for 2018, there is a whole green industry project: IndaChlor will supply its neighbour Ecophos, a producer of food-grade phosphate, with hydrochloric acid which it needs in its process, and the energy generated during the treatment process will be used to supply steam to its other neighbour Ryssen Alcools, a European leader in alcohol production. Pipes will be installed to connect the three production plants.
Numerous benefits and advantages
Businesses can make economies of scale (grouped purchases, shared waste collection, etc), reduce the costs of transport and waste treatment, secure new sources of revenue by the sale of by-products, and so become more competitive as well as improving their image.
For local authorities, the benefits are more concerned with lowering environmental impacts and the consumption of natural resources, creating new activities and industries, reinforcing the area’s position with optimum use of local resources, and creating and consolidating local jobs.
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