Belgium: SPIE is contributing to the development of renewable energy

Published on 11 July 2018

Brussels, July 11th, 2018 – SPIE, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, has been involved in the construction of the deep geothermal power plant of VITO (Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek), the Flemish Institute for Technological Research, which specialises in clean technologies and sustainable development. The “Services Geel Building” department of SPIE Belgium carried out the installation of 9 adiabatic coolers* at the geothermal power plant of Mol (province of Antwerp).

The rational use of energy and renewable energies have been central research topics at VITO for deca-des. The “Deep Geothermal Energy” initiative falls under this heading and also reflects SPIE’s commitments for a more sustainable world. Drilling up to a depth of 3.6 km – which began roughly two years ago – will help pump water at 128°C from the earth’s deep layers. The energy from this water will be used to produce heat and electricity at the geothermal power plant.

The “Services Geel Building” department of SPIE Belgium, which has been actively collaborating with VITO for many years (on HVAC maintenance and installations), became involved in fitting out the geothermal power plant after winning a tender. Project manager Roald Noels explains: “We installed 9 adiabatic coolers* at the plant, which generate a total power of 9 MW. The coolers are coupled to a network of pipes, manifolds and pumping installations connected to ORC* modules that generate electricity. We opted to fit the coolers with adiabatic precoolers, which provide considerable energy savings in the process. Other departments of SPIE Belgium are also involved in the works: for example, Industry Grobbendonk carried out the electrical coupling of the ORC modules and BS Geel HVAC will be involved in the subsequent geographical expansion of the heat network.

For “Services Geel Building”, this operation is an example of its close collaboration with VITO, which has become a loyal customer of SPIE Belgium in recent years, notably following a series of successful HVAC projects.

Over the coming months, we will also be connecting VITO’s technical services building to the internal heat network”, concludes Roald Noels.

* Adiabatic coolers: coolers which use the ambient air and precooling by spraying water to cool process water.

* ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) modules: production of electricity from an organic solvent.