A Swedish group integrated into the industrial landscape of Ath.
Established at Ath, Höganäs Belgium is the Belgian branch of the Swedish group Höganäs, which was founded in 1797 and is one of the oldest Swedish enterprises that are still active. The group Höganäs is the world leader in the production of metal powder, with an annual volume of approximately 500,000 tonnes, of which 7,500 tonnes are produced at the Ath site. The company employs 2400 people worldwide (200 of whom at Ath) and has an annual turnover of approximately 1 billion euro. The highly alloyed powder has many different properties and is suitable for many applications, in particular in several industrial sectors (automotive, extractive industries, surface coating, filtration…). With more than 99.5% of the production destined for export, these activities with a high added value position the site at the heart of the group’s strategic activities.
A better environmental footprint
29,627 m² of solar panels (13,188 solar panels with a capacity of 450 & 455 Wc) have been installed by Dauvister, the Luminus subsidiary, next to the building. Furthermore, the roofs have been equipped with solar panels generating electricity over a surface area of 2,500 m². The east-west orientation was chosen for maximum exposure to the sun. An estimated 5,494 MWh of electric power will be generated, of which 4,780 MWh for own consumption, covering 20% of the needs of the site. This represents an annual CO2 emission reduction of 961,450 tonnes.
Two partners driven by an eco-responsible approach
For Luminus, the fight against global warming is a daily concern. It has become the mainspring for the company, which has been investing in renewable energy production for more than 60 years. More than 26% of their energy production originates from Belgian renewable energy sources.
Grégoire Dallemagne, CEO of EDF Luminus:"Solar panels are an excellent local solution for the production of green energy and enable our customers to reduce their ecological footprint. In the course of 2020, we installed solar panels with a total capacity of 65 MW for our customers, which is three times more than in 2018.This project at Höganäs is perfectly in line with our mission, which is to work towards a CO2 neutral future together with our customers. Thanks to the installation of this solar park on their site, Höganäs will be able to reduce their energy bill and their carbon footprint by producing the green electricity they need themselves. It’s an economic as well as an ecological decision.”
Höganäs has the ambition to be carbon neutral by 2045. The company’s climate roadmap is based on three strategic pillars: reducing emissions by increasing energy efficiency, using more recycled materials to reduce emissions upstream and increasing the use of renewable energy and fuels.
"With this project, the company Höganäs Belgium strengthens their commitment to energy efficiency, renewable energy and the reduction of their ecological footprint. This project is another step towards sustainability and a cleaner future, while at the same time reducing costs and generating savings, explains Vincent Rasneur, General Manager Höganäs Belgium & Great Britain. This green energy helps us contribute to the ambition of the group Höganäs to reduce their carbon footprint by 30% by 2026 and to be CO2 neutral by 2045.” Obviously, the construction of the 6 MW solar park is entirely in line with these targets.
Focus on biodiversity
When the permit application was filed, the authorities asked Höganäs to install a plant screen, which they did. The green wall consists of nearly 900 indigenous melliferous plants that provide food and shelter to insects and birds. Furthermore, Höganäs took the initiative to create a wildflower meadow of 1000 m² for pollinators and constructed a sheep pen for a small herd of some fifteen sheep to maintain the grass fields. This contributes to the reduction of fossil energy and to the quality of the site.
Third-party investor: a win-win formula
The project is financed by means of the third-party investment scheme. This scheme enables enterprises to invest in renewable energy and have the installations in full ownership against payment of a fee. The third-party investor – in this case Luminus – finances the project and maintains the installation. They receive an annual fee and green certificates during a period of ten years. Dauvister was responsible for installing the solar panels.
Our vision at Höganäs is to “inspire the industry to do more with less”. Metal powder technology offers unlimited opportunities enabling our customers not only to reduce their material and energy consumption, but also to offer more efficient and cheaper products.
We therefore feel that the inherent power of metal powder can be utilised to a much larger extent than it is today. We are also convinced that metal powder can contribute to sustainable development. Metal powder solutions enable us to meet many acute social challenges, like shortage of resources and potable water and the need for renewable energy.
The Höganäs group stands for 3000 customers in 75 countries. We mainly sell products specifically developed to meet our customers’ needs, as one of our ambitions is to contribute to their success.
Höganäs AB metal powders are used in a wide range of applications in different sectors. Thanks to their specific properties, metal powders offer unique opportunities and can therefore be found in car components such as valve seats and gears, in electric engines, in agricultural equipment and in food industry products like cornflakes fortified with iron. Metal powders can also be used to make water potable by eliminating contaminants and to purify industrial wastewater.