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Flanders’ cleantech ecosystem

Discover Flanders’ ecosystem dedicated to know-how, research and business incubation in the field of cleantech.

By setting up operations in Flanders, you will gain access to a close-knit business and knowledge ecosystem for your cleantech activities. How? By tuning in to these sector-specific organizations for know-how, research, industry clustering, business incubation, and more.

Know-how and research

Research and knowledge centers

  • EnergyVille – Officially launched in September 2016, EnergyVille unites the research institutes of KU Leuven, VITO and imec to investigate sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. It strives to become one of the top five European institutes in innovative energy research.
  • VITO – Flanders’ Institute for Technological Research: a leading European independent research and technology organization active in the areas of cleantech and sustainable development. 
  • VIB – Flanders’ Institute for Biotechnology conducts basic research with a strong focus on transforming scientific insights into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications. 
  • Imec – To give just one example, imec – Europe’s leading research center in micro- and nanoelectronics as well as digital technology – works with global leaders in in solar cell production to maximize solar efficiency using photovoltaic technology.
  • Flanders’ Smart Hub – A knowledge region in the center of Belgium encircling Brussels, the capital of the European Union. Its hallmark technologies focus on health, food, logistics, media, creative industry and cleantech.

Universities and university colleges

  • Lab4U – Lab4U, an expertise unit of the KU Leuven, UHasselt and UC Limburg, performs research into the development of new technologies and their implementation in existing (bio)chemical processes. Current research topics are cleantech, process intensification and biomedical technology.
  • B-PHOT (VUB) – The Brussels Photonics research and innovation team B-PHOT carries out cutting-edge research on photonics. 
  • Bruwind (VUB) – In the Brussels Wind Energy Institute Bruwind, several research groups combine their technologies to boost innovation in wind energy from small wind turbines in urban environments to large offshore wind farms.
  • SURF (VUB) – Research group that focuses on 5 cross-linked research domains in electrochemical and surface engineering. It has an impressive track record in knowledge transfer, made available to the market through its spin-off Elsyca.
  • CleanChem (UGent) – Under the framework of the Industrial Research Fund, the CleanChem research cluster functions as a gateway for all activities related to sustainable chemical technologies targeting a transition from fossil to renewable sources.
  • CMK (UHasselt) – The Center for Environmental Sciences carries out specific international research programs in cooperation with the industry.
  • Enviromics (UAntwerpen) - The Enviromics consortium, embedded in the Industrial Research Fund at the University of Antwerp, offers broad expertise in the fields of environmental sciences and technology. 
  • ELECTA (KU Leuven) – The research domain of ELECTA covers the broad spectrum of electrical energy systems and the robust control of industrial systems. Its focus lies on the development of the future smart grid.

Cluster and key organizations

  • Cleantech Flanders – informs industry about the latest cleantech trends, assists in the international marketing of cleantech solutions, and shares cleantech opportunities with like-minded companies and scale-ups.
  • OVAM – Flanders’ Public Waste Agency strives for efficient and sustainable management of waste, materials and soil in Flanders.
  • VEA – Flanders’ Energy Agency: independent agency of the Environment, Nature and Energy Department of the Government of Flanders.
  • VMM – Flanders’ Environment Agency.
  • VLAIO – Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship supports the implementation of Flanders’ economic, innovation and enterprise policy, and helps companies start their activities, grow their business, and ensure their continuity.
  • Waterstofnet – As the sector federation for companies specializing in hydrogen, Waterstofnet facilitates the close collaboration between the industry, the government and the academic world.

Business incubators

  • CINBIOS – CINBIOS connects industrial biotech companies and knowledge centers in a single network. It is a common initiative of FlandersBio, Ghent Bio-Economy Valley and Essenscia.
  • Flanders BioBased Valley – FBBV is a non-profit organization supporting the development of biobased activities in the Ghent region. It is a joint initiative of the City and Port of Ghent, the Development Agency of East Flanders and industrial companies in the area.
  • MIP – The Environmental and Energy Technology Innovation Platform was founded by the Government of Flanders and aims at closing material and process cycles according to the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ philosophy and the development of new technologies for smart energy supply.
  • GreenBridge (UGent) – Located at the Ostend Science Park, GreenBridge aims to provide a sustainable breeding ground for successful technological entrepreneurship initiatives in the energy domain.
  • Blue Growth (UGent) – Part of the GreenBridge incubator, Blue Growth unites all the research expertise of Ghent University in the blue growth domain. As such, it focuses on offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, aquaculture, marine biotechnology, coastal engineering, and sea bed mining.

High level expertise in several cleantech clusters

Biofuel companies, suppliers of critical industry components, turnkey energy plant contractors, offshore wind farm engineering contractors, manufacturers of next-generation voltaic cells and modules... Cleantech companies in Flanders enjoy a solid reputation worldwide – think of leading industry players such as Umicore and Van Hool.

More than 150 companies are active in renewable energy fields in Belgium as a whole. The region of Flanders in particular offers various benefits for your cleantech business in these domains:

  • wind energy: on- and offshore.
  • solar energy: photovoltaics, concentrated photovoltaics, concentrated solar power and solar thermal energy, etc.
  • bioenergy: biofuel, biomass, biogas, energy-from-waste, etc.
  • other green resources: hydropower, wave and tidal energy, geothermal energy, heat pumps, etc.

Join these cleantech experts in Flanders

  • Leclanché (Switzerland) – Europe’s biggest battery producer has a base at the Open Manufacturing Campus (OMC) in Turnhout, Flanders. OMC is a hub for technological cross-pollination between manufacturing companies.
  • Subcon (Australia) – This multinational specializes in subsea stabilization and foundation solutions for the offshore energy sector, and decided to open its first European office at the GreenBridge incubator in Ostend, Flanders.
  • C-PowerC-Power is the first offshore wind farm in the concession area on the Thornton Bank in the North Sea, located 30 km from Flanders’ coast line.
  • DEME – Headquartered in Zwijndrecht (Flanders), DEME is major industry player when it comes the installation of wind turbines at sea. 
  • Hydrogenics – Operating a site in Oevel (Flanders), Hydrogenics is a worldwide leader designing, manufacturing, building and installing industrial and commercial hydrogen systems.

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