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Trafigura (SG) invests in giant energy battery in Flanders

Headquartered in Flanders, Nyrstar is a multinational producer of zinc, lead and other metals. The company’s renewable energy strategy is further taking shape with the help of Trafigura, a world leader in commodities trading. The Singaporean multinational is investing EUR 30 million in a giant lithium-ion battery to power the Nyrstar zinc melting facility in Balen, Flanders. “This project fits perfectly within our company’s continuous move towards sustainable operations,” says Nyrstar’s CEO Daniel Vanin.

Stepping stone to greatness

Trafigura acquired Nyrstar – previously owned by materials technology company Umicore – in 2019. It is building the super battery together with its newly formed subsidiary Nala Renewables, which plans to expand its green energy portfolio over the next five years to 2 gigawatts, enough to power 2 million households. The Nyrstar battery is merely the first of a series of green projects in Flanders and beyond.

Landside projects like Nyrstar’s smelting operations are an early focus for Nala Renewables. Similar concepts are now being formulated for other assets, such as Puma Energy’s Puerto Rico facilities and the MATSA mine in southern Spain.

Julien Rolland
head of Power and Renewables Trading at Trafigura

The 25-megawatt lithium-ion battery at the Nyrstar factory site in Balen will provide 100 megawatt hours of power in 4 hours. It will be one of the largest energy storage batteries in Belgium. Part of the stored energy will be used in the zinc production process and part will be injected into the national grid.

The news of the investment came just days after German specialist in solar energy 7C Solarparken announced the acquisition of the Flanders branch of project developer Enervest. It clearly demonstrates that the region counts as the sustainable innovation-minded place to be.

Part of a masterplan

The new battery is not the only recent green energy project on Nyrstar’s radar. The zinc smelter has invested in a wind farm in Lommel and a wind and solar farm in Pelt, both in Flanders. Nyrstar also invested in a gigantic solar farm for the zinc plant in Budel, a Dutch town just across the border. And just recently, the site in Balen received new electro filters to purify its gas flows.

Greener and cheaper

Energy doesn’t come cheap for superuser Nyrstar. With a consumption of 120 megawatts per hour, the Balen site accounts for 1.3% of the national electricity consumption. With this investment in solar energy, the company is responding to the greening of its production process while reducing its energy bill. Construction of the battery is planned for the first half of 2021 and should be completed in 2022.

More info

Reported by
newspaper De Tijd
27 January 2021

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