The agreement became possible after Eneco was given the go-ahead to retrofit its biomass facility – Bio Golden Raand in Delfzijl – to produce steam in addition to electricity. AkzoNobel will now purchase sustainably generated steam for the next 12 years, as well as investing in new infrastructure at the Delfzijl Chemical Park.

In addition, the company will supply steam to neighboring customers, with Groningen Seaports providing the necessary infrastructure, such as a steam distribution pipeline that will also be accessible to other interested parties.

“Together we are taking a big step forward in making the chemical sector more sustainable,” said Knut Schwalenberg, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals, who is responsible for the company's Delfzijl activities. “Competitively priced renewable steam can play an important role in future-proofing the chemical sector. It will also mean a significant reduction in our CO2 footprint, which is a key element of our Planet Possible sustainability strategy of doing more with less.”

By reducing its dependence on fossil fuels in favor of using sustainably generated steam, AkzoNobel expects to cut CO2 emissions by an amount equivalent to what is produced each year by 12,500 households.

Said Hugo Buis, Head of Eneco Bio, Solar, Hydro: “We are taking a big leap in terms of sustainability. By taking the same amount of biomass, which amounts to around 300,000 tons of wood chips made from reclaimed wood, we will be able to produce double the amount of renewable energy.”

He added that the decision to retrofit the facility was the result of a constructive cooperation between the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, AkzoNobel and Groningen Seaports.

The supply of sustainably generated steam will begin in December 2016.