New wind turbines at Belgian silica sand site demonstrate company’s commitment to sustainable operations
FOUR giant wind turbines are now up and running at Sibelco’s silica sand operation in Lommel, Belgium. The 155m high structures will collectively generate around 28,000MWh of energy each year, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 7,000 family homes. The turbines will slash carbon emissions at the site by 21,000 tonnes per year.
Sibelco say investment in the project demonstrates their firm commitment to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency in line with the EU’s Green Deal targets for 2030. Although the global minerals industry accounts for less than 0.5% of total CO2 emissions, Sibelco believe that all industries have a role to play in achieving targeted reductions to limit the extent of global warming.
Lommel is one of the company’s largest silica sand operations, extracting and processing more than 1 million tonnes of premium-quality material each year since 1984 for customers in the glass, chemical, construction and foundry industries.
Sand at Lommel is extracted by dredging before being pumped through pipelines to the processing plant where it is sieved and double graded to ensure optimal grain size distribution. To achieve humidity levels below 5%, the sand is dewatered on filter belts then sent to silos for natural drainage, with some being further treated at a drying installation in line with customer specifications.
Around 75% of the energy used to power Lommel’s processing plant now comes from renewable sources, with the new wind turbines boosting supplies already generated by a 6ha solar park which sits on top of land remediated by Sibelco. The solar park opened in 2009 and has a peak capacity of 3MW.