REGULATED INFORMATION – INSIDE INFORMATION
A gigantic stimulus and a step forward when it comes to the reuse of wastewater for industrial purposes and the fight against water scarcity.
Ekopak (EKOP:xbru), an ESG-driven company specializing in decentralized, circular water solutions, will become part of a joint venture partnership providing companies and business parks with circular water thanks to a new concept. It concerns a collaboration between Ekopak, Aquafin and infrastructure fund EPICo2. The name of the project is Circeaulair. Circeaulair aims for an annual purchase of 25 billion litres of circular water, which is the equivalent of the water consumption of 640,000 people.
Circeaulair offers a decentralized circular water solution: the model of the future to fight water scarcity. After the ‘Waterkracht’ project, this is the second major collaboration between the public and the private sector, in which Ekopak plays an active role. In concrete terms, the effluent (or treated wastewater) coming from Aquafin’s waste water treatment plant (WWTP), is converted into process water for industrial purposes. This is done through a water treatment installation which Ekopak will install close to Aquafin’s WWTP. From here, a new pipeline network will be created, transporting the process water directly to the company or the business park. This pipeline network will ensure the supply of recycled process water.
The drought during the past summers made the groundwater levels fall dramatically. Hence the pressure on drinking water increases, creating a risk for water supply security. By taking action now and offering circular water to companies, Circeaulair enables companies to arm themselves for the future.
Circeaulair makes a head start: Ypres and Harelbeke set the ball rolling with five companies participating in the project.
Ypres and Harelbeke are the first towns where Circeaulair will be kicked off. Five companies, including McBride, De Brabandere and Lano, have already signed a Letter of Intent.
After all, treated wastewater is an excellent source for various industrial applications. Thanks to Circeaulair, companies or business parks can make a significant contribution to a circular water use and thus reduce their ecological and water footprint. In addition, Circeaulair also offers a solution for the disposal and treatment of the wastewater of the affiliated companies.
But it does not stop at these towns, Circeaulair can easily and efficiently be rolled out in other cities in Flanders and beyond. Other regions are currently being surveyed. Circeaulair aims for an annual purchase of 25 billion litres of circular water. It is a significant step in the fight against water scarcity and drought.
If all goes according to plan, the first participating companies will be able to use sustainable water as of January 2024.
“Climate change is putting pressure on our water system. That became clear once again last summer. With the Blue Deal, we are working on structural solutions to combat the drought problem. Every drop counts. And it is thanks to innovative projects such as Circeaulair that every drop becomes twice or thrice as important. Projects like these help to design the water system of the future and can therefore count on Flanders”.
Zuhal Demir, Flemish minister of Justice and Enforcement, Environment, Energy and Tourism
Pieter Loose, CEO Ekopak: “With Circeaulair, we give companies the opportunity to fully switch to sustainable, circular water. Together, we prepare companies for the future and we ensure that they are much less vulnerable in times of water scarcity. There is a great deal of interest in this project. We are honoured that the Flemish Government supports initiatives like Circeaulair.”
Marjolein Weemaes, director of Business Development and Innovation at Aquafin: “Treated wastewater is an excellent alternative source of water and it is available throughout Flanders. That is why we encourage all reuse projects and are happy to support projects like Circeaulair. We are open to anyone wishing to launch an initiative to start a WWTP effluent reuse project, provided that this reuse does not lead to ecological damage, for instance in the watercourse into which the effluent is discharged.”
Geert Jacobs, EPICo2: “It must be possible to find financing for projects contributing to the successful transition to a circular economy in Flanders. Through our investment we want to offer a solution to one of the biggest challenges in this area, namely the reuse of water.”
Circeaulair is a joint venture between Ekopak and infrastructure fund EPICo2, with Aquafin as a partner. This collaboration constitutes a significant contribution to Ekopak’s results as of financial year 2024. At this stage, it is too early to provide a quantified impact of the project on Ekopak’s activities.
Subsidy within the Blue Deal context
In February 2022, the Flemish Government issued a call for projects to encourage the reuse of water by companies. Currently, much of the treated wastewater ends up in watercourses and just flows away. Hence, the Flemish Government offered 11 million euros in subsidies to companies who aim to change this. The investment is part of the Blue Deal, a programme that was launched by the Flemish Government in the fight against water scarcity and drought. The programme comprises over 70 different actions and 400 projects.
Circeaulair is also one of the selected investment projects and has managed to obtain a subsidy of 2.6 million euros within the context of the “Blue Deal Circular Water wastewater treatment plants effluent reuse”.
This initiative fits within the programme of the Flemish Environment Agency that is part of the Blue Deal. The Blue Deal is a programme that was launched by the Flemish Government in the fight against water scarcity and drought. The programme comprises over 70 different actions and 400 projects. With the Blue Deal, Flanders is taking the path of less paving, more rewetting and maximum circular water use.
Ekopak is an ESG driven company that markets circular water solutions. Ekopak’s solutions offer industrial customers the opportunity to significantly reduce their water consumption from the water mains network in a sustainable, dependable, and cost-effective manner. To this end, Ekopak focuses on optimising water consumption with container water treatment units that convert off-grid water sources, such as rainwater, surface water, and/or waste water into purer water that can be used and reused in the customer’s industrial processes.
All Ekopak shares are listed on Euronext Brussels (ticker EKOP).
Aquafin is responsible in Flanders for the financing, development, and operation of the supra-municipal infrastructure for sewage treatment. The company purifies waste water so that streams and rivers become clean again and water is in harmony with the living environment. Aquafin strives to achieve its objectives in a socially responsible manner. Which is why we are open to all initiatives that explore the sustainable reuse of purified waste water. For more info, go to www.aquafin.be
EPICo2 (European Projects Investment Company) is an infrastructure fund from the Benelux which invests in socially relevant infrastructure projects. EPICo2, with the Flemish investment company PMV as investor, invests in the development, construction and operation phase of infrastructure projects and companies in the Benelux or elsewhere in Europe. It focuses on socially relevant themes such as energy transition, digital transformation and sustainable mobility and transport. The EPICo2 investment strategy is aimed at providing sustainable growth prospects for both investors and society. Further information: www.epicofund.eu
Melissa Vanhoecke – firstname.lastname@example.org – +32 51 75 51 05