You are here

First firms at circular cluster NextGen District (Flanders)

“Where change begins.” That’s how the NextGen District positions itself. Located at the heart of the Port of Antwerp in Flanders, it unites companies with circular and sustainable ambitions in a cluster with access to excellent multimodal connections, world-class logistics services and highly skilled talent. In January 2022, the first concessions for the NextGen District were officially signed. Two pioneers – Triple Helix and Bolder Industries – will help the Port of Antwerp contribute to the transition to a climate-neutral society.

Former 88-hectare site of General Motors (Port of Antwerp)

Circular economy hotspot

The NextGen District is the future hotspot for the circular economy in the Port of Antwerp, located on the former 88-hectare site of General Motors. Port of Antwerp made the conscious choice to dedicate this large zone near Europe’s largest chemical cluster to the circular economy. There, innovative companies that play a role in the circular process and manufacturing industry will give a new life to end-of-life products.

In addition, they will investigate new circular carbon solutions and carry out experiments involving renewable energy. To attract as many local and international circularity pioneers as possible, a market survey was organized in October 2020 and June 2021.

Arrival of the first game-changers

The first two companies to sign a concession deal with the NextGen District are considered true game-changers in their fields.

Antwerp-based renewables and environment company Triple Helix will build a factory to produce polyols by converting polyurethane foam from discarded mattresses, insulation panels and car seats, among other products, along with used PET originating from the retail and food industries. The resulting chemicals can then be reused, for instance, in the production of new polyurethane products. The plant will operate in a fully circular way and provide for its own energy needs.

To reduce emissions and waste pollution, we want to show the principle of material reincarnation to the world. At NextGen District, we want to recover polyurethane foams at the end of their life and transform them into their main components to be used again in new products. This is innovative and challenging, but with Port of Antwerp, BlueChem and our industrial and knowledge partners, we are ready!

Steven Peleman
CEO Triple Helix

On the other hand, the originally American company Bolder Industries will tackle the global waste tire challenge by recycling old tires into new and sustainable rubber and plastic solutions, such as carbon black, pyrolysis oil and steel.

Since 2015, we deliver material solutions that can now be found in thousands of rubber, plastics and petrochemical products around the globe, with some of the world’s most recognized brands. We are proud to join the Port of Antwerp’s NextGen District. It is strategically situated, allowing Bolder Industries to better serve global customers and contribute to the circular economy in a meaningful way.

Tony Wibbeler
CEO Bolder Industries

Important milestone moving forward

In total, the two companies will invest EUR 100 million in their activities at the NextGen District, creating 70 local jobs in the process. Their activities are scheduled to be operational by 2023-2024.

The signature of these first two concessionaires is a milestone for both the NextGen District and the Port of Antwerp. We are taking another step forward in our pioneering role in the context of climate transition. I want to thank both companies for their courage to take these first steps into the unknown, and I am confident that many other changemakers will follow.

Jacques Vandermeiren
CEO Port of Antwerp

Even in times of COVID, Flanders remains an attractive destination for new foreign investors. The synergy between the central location of our region and the logistical assets of the Port of Antwerp – sharpened by the government of Flanders’ hands-on circular economy policy – forms a very attractive framework for innovative companies, with mutually beneficial effects. I am very pleased to welcome Bolder Industries as a new ecosystem-strengthening partner in Flanders.

Claire Tillekaerts
CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade

To be continued

While Triple Helix and Bolder Industries prepare to settle in at the NextGen District, talks with other possible candidates are in full swing. The projects will be assessed for feasibility, future orientation, innovative value, climate impact and maneuverability.

More info

NextGen District
Reported by
press release Port of Antwerp
25 January 2022

More news about Flanders?

  • Regular updates
  • No spam

Interested in doing business in Flanders?

Let us help you!

  • We can introduce you to other companies, banks and regulators
  • We organize site visits to real estate locations
  • We assist with all legal aspects of setting up a business
  • We're an official government agency
  • Our services are completely free
  • We are a team of international experts

Receive our handbook to growing your business in Flanders

  • It's completely free.
  • Get an overview of all incentives relevant to your company.
  • Tax system explained in-depth.
  • Learn how to set up your business quickly.
  • Discover the benefits of Flanders (in addition to the chocolate).

In addition to the ebook, I agree to receive one or two follow-up emails