Relevance for the project

  • Representative of Western European Cities
  • Oceanic temperate climate without dry season and with warm summers according
  • It represents an advanced case to provide best practices on renewable energy policy, data collection and management
  • Antwerp being one of the biggest ports in the world, it is a relevant case study for mapping H&C supply potential recoverable from waste heat coming from ports
  • The city is actively investing in the best strategy to reach sustainability goals


Antwerp is located in Belgium. With a population of 510,610, it is the most populous city in Flanders. Its metropolitan area houses around 1,200,000 people. Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea via the Westerschelde estuary. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking third in Europe and within the top 20 globally.

One of the frontrunners for district heating in Belgium, Antwerp designed a local regulation that has served as an example for the development of regional regulation. Moreover, since a couple of years, Antwerp has a building code stipulating that every new apartment building with at least nine living units should have a room in the basement where a centralised heating system or a heat exchanger can be installed. Also, room should be given for heat transport lines from this room to the living units. Antwerp is also home of the 3rd largest petrochemical cluster in the world – an industry sector that is notorious for its waste heat production, and therefore means great opportunities to be utilised in district heating systems.

In 2009, the city of Antwerp joined the Covenant of Mayors and expressed the ambition to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This laid the basis for Antwerp’s policy note on sustainability: a sustainable city for everyone (2011) and of the city’s own climate plan (2011). In October 2015, the city has endorsed an updated climate plan with objectives for 2030 and mitigation and adaptation measures for 2015-2020.

Antwerp is now in need of a sophisticated heat strategy. As part of this heat strategy, Antwerp wants to better assess the neighbourhoods for their potential to develop DH grids.

For instance, it wants to have a better view on the favourable conditions in function of the already existing gas infrastructure and its age. As a final result the city wants to be able to assess the share of DHC technology, for each neighbourhood, in its aim to reach climate neutrality by the year 2050. To do so, the potential of reducing energy demand (e.g. through renovation) and availability of renewable and waste energy sources (heat or electric) will need to be assessed as well. Currently, maps of energy sources potential for heating and cooling (wind, solar, geothermal, waste water, waste heat, biomass) are already available and maps on the renovation potential are under development.

In short: Antwerp is looking for the best strategy to reach its sustainability goals. This strategy must reach further than the traditional sinks and sources approach. The existing and future energy distribution and transportation infrastructure will equally be taken in to account. The level of availability of input data is very high. Thus, this makes Antwerp an ideal case to validate the PLANHEAT models and tools with real data from the city.


Photo credits: