Lower CO2 emissions in your industrial production environment and gain in efficiency and sustainability

28 April 2022

The process of making our energy production more sustainable is gaining momentum. But is a drastic modification of your boiler room the only right way to go about it? What are your current options, and what considerations should be taken into account when deciding to upgrade your boiler room? Energy specialist Callens lists all the options with their pros and cons.

Achieve climate, regulatory and efficiency goals in one move

Make your energy supplies more sustainable and tick off multiple goals at the same time, all in one move. In fact, we are talking about a positive chain reaction that benefits the climate and your efficiency and costs. While the legal framework for a climate neutral 2050 will help in this, for most companies right now, this is a concern.

“Our industrial customers, large and small, face a challenging future,” explains Kris Stappers, Commercial Director at Callens. “They must reduce their CO2 emissions while remaining competitive. Fortunately, we can help with this in a number of ways, thanks to EcologiCal thinking and a very productive and highly innovative R&D team.”

Callens hydrogen steam boiler Vynova

Make the switch to an alternative fuel – wholly or partially

Switching to an alternative energy source for your steam, thermal oil or central heating boiler doesn’t have to be radical. This differs for each company and each context.

Callens is laying the foundation for a more sustainable industrial energy landscape with:

  • Hybrid boilers
  • Electrified boilers
  • Hydrogen boilers

We can even help those who, for whatever reason, are not yet ready to make the switch to a completely new boiler room. We then gradually replace the boilers and peripheral equipment and foresee the connections necessary for future adaptations. After all, it’s never too early to think about where your energy policy should be headed.

Hybrid boilers

“The ideal solution differs for everyone,” Kris Stappers continues. “That’s why customisation remains extremely important and we continue to invest in it with our engineering team.” Companies with relatively low energy consumption and a low energy capacity, both on site and from the surroundings, are best served by a hybrid boiler. Hybrid boilers run approximately 20% of the time on electricity and the rest of the time on natural gas. However, we determine the perfect balance in the design phase, based on current facts and future predictions.

Electrified boilers

Electrified boilers go a step further than hybrid solutions. They are 100% electrically powered, and thus only feasible for a limited number of applications. Kris adds: “Most of the electric boilers that we’ve installed until now have a limited capacity. Which is a conscious choice. After all, we want to avoid capacity problems on the electricity grid disrupting the steam or thermal oil installation.”

Need still more power? Supplementing this with a combined heat and power (CHP) plant is a big win. Together with the joint venture CallensVyncke, Callens is able set up such an energy-efficient total package. Cogeneration generates energy and heat at the same time. The system puts you back in control of your industrial energy consumption and lowers your CO2 emissions up to 20%. 

Hydrogen boilers

Those wishing and able to be fully CO2 neutral may find their solution in a hydrogen boiler. Kris Stappers explains: “Some companies produce hydrogen as a by-product. We can use this to our advantage to produce, for example, CO2-neutral steam, which we are already doing at Vynova in Tessenderlo. A steam system was installed with a burner capacity of more than 20 MW, capable of producing up to 30 tonnes of steam per hour. We are currently building another identical steam unit.”

One issue of concern with hydrogen boilers is NOx emissions. These increase compared to gas-fired boilers, but can be reduced to a healthy minimum with the right technology. To this end, Optimum by Callens has developed among others thermal post-combustion systems. They integrate optimally with each energy installation and each production process, and can be equipped for possible future changes in your production process.

Parameters that point the way to a more sustainable energy supply

The type of boiler and associated peripherals that yield the best results are completely context dependent. “The solution we offer depends among others on the energy consumption at the site, grid stability and the legal requirements that must be met,” explains Kris Stappers. “In addition, many customers prefer to diversify their investment, which is an equally good choice. We prepare each customer for the future, whether in whole or in part. Everyone wins.”

“That’s why hybrid boilers are the most popular,” continues Kris. “They offer at least as much stability and reliability as regular boilers, while allowing customers to significantly reduce their CO2 emissions. In addition, this two-part system already results in significant cost savings in terms of energy consumption and taxes.”

Anticipate increasingly strict legislation

As mentioned, there is legislation intended to put the industry on the road to a CO2-neutral energy policy in 2050. The European Emission Trade System (EU ETS) is one of the levers we can use to achieve CO2 neutrality. Over the past 15 years, this lever has led to a flourishing trade in emission rights and economic profits for polluting companies. But that is now coming to an end. Emission rights are becoming scarcer and more expensive, making it smart to invest now in sustainable energy production. Moreover, all are subject to CO2 taxes, with these rates also increasing. Kris Stappers adds: “We always include applicable and possible future regulations when calculating the correct, most sustainable solution for the customer.”


Hydrogen plant generates 20 MW and 30 tonnes of steam per hour at Vynova in Tessenderlo

The hydrogen installation at Vynova was created by Callens in collaboration with sister company Optimum by Callens. In effect, the engineering teams transformed a basic steam production model into one that takes advantage of the specific properties of hydrogen gas, such its signature hydrogen flame. This has much lower radiation in the infrared region, causing a large shift in temperature distribution in the boiler. Furthermore, the higher combustion values and flame speed required an adaptation to the technical design.

Callens and Optimum by Callens designed their installation to stay well below standard noise and emission values. In addition, all possible and best available technologies were used to limit NOx emissions to a minimum, with a positive end result: a sustainable and robust steam installation. Moreover, the Callens group set a new standard with this installation concerning burning hydrogen in a cylindrical steam boiler.