New Ghent neighbourhood heated with waste


De Nieuwe Dokken, a new harbour-area district with housing, a school and a sports hall, will be fully heated with energy reclaimed from wastewater

The future of heat

The new Ghent neighbourhood De Nieuwe Dokken (The New Docks) in the city’s harbour area will use vegetable, garden and fruit waste (VGF waste) and wastewater for the heating of about 400 houses, a school and a sports hall, according to sustainability co-operative DuCoop.

The project is possible thanks to Zawent technology, an innovative combination of existing technologies that retrieves energy from wastewater. Water from sources such as vacuum toilets and ground-up food waste will be collected and converted into biogas. Heat will be recuperated from other forms of wastewater, and the combination of the two will be sufficient for one-third of the heating needs of the buildings.

Any residual water will be purified and re-used by Ghent hygiene chemical company Christeyns, which will in turn provide its industrial residual heat to the Ghent quarter – enough for the remaining heating needs. 

The Zawent system costs about €4 million. This is the first time the technique will be used on such a large scale in Flanders. De Nieuwe Dokken development project will be completed in 2019.

The initiative fits in with Ghent’s efforts to become climate-neutral by 2050. In the meantime, the city’s is working to lower CO2 emissions by 20% by 2019 and by 40% by 2030. On 20 April, the city climate-friendly systems and process will be presented at the event Gent Klimaatstad.

Photo: Architectural rendering of De Nieuwe Dokken neighbourhood

Sustainable energy

The five main renewable energy sources in Flanders are biomass, biogas, wind energy, solar energy and water power. The renewable energy sector has grown sharply in recent years, with wind and solar energy production especially on the rise.
Agency - The Flemish Energy Agency is responsible for implementing the government’s sustainable energy policies. Its central tasks are to promote rational energy use and environmentally friendly energy production.
Green energy certificates - One of the principal measures to promote sustainable energy are the certificates the Flemish energy regulator (Vreg) awards for electricity generated by renewable energy sources. Since the regulations were tightened in 2012, investments in renewable energy installations have declined.
Obstacles - According to the Flemish Energy Agency, the main challenges in local renewable energy production are the region’s short coast, limited height differences and direct sunlight, and high population density.

new wind turbines created in Flanders in 2013

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million kilowattage of green energy in 2012


percentage of green energy used in Flanders in 2012