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350 km of Low-voltage Cables for Bioethanol Plant

10 July 2009

International cable manufacturer Nexans says it has completed a contract worth approximately one million euros to supply low-voltage power cables for the BioWanze project—a new plant producing bioethanol from wheat and sugar beet. The plant, located in Wanze near Huy sur Meuse (Belgium), represents an investment of 250 million euros for the Südzucker Group, Europe’s leading sugar producer.

Wanze plant
Wanze plant

BioWanze will be the fourth ethanol production factory run by Südzucker, which already has infrastructures of this type in Germany, in France, and in Hungary.

The Wanze plant will produce 300,000 cubic metres of biofuel per annum, which represents 75,000 hectares of wheat and 12 000 hectares of beet. Südzucker has obtained a guarantee from the government that 125,000 cubic metres will be sold by petrol companies established in Belgium, who will be granted tax incentives to do so. This represents half of the annual bioethanol volume for Belgium.

The plant also features a number of innovative ideas, such as a steam boiler fuelled by bran, which is a residue from the milling of wheat used in the ethanol production.

A collaboration charter
Nexans says it entered a frame agreement with Siemens NV/SA, the contractor in charge of project engineering and management, for the supply of approximately 350 kilometers of low-voltage (LV) power cables in only five months.

The cables were manufactured by Nexans production facilities in Belgium, located in Dour and Buizigen. There were over one hundred different product references.

“Today, large-scale projects such as BioWanze are characterised by the majority of engineering work being completed on site and final cabling decisions being taken according to specific construction site requirements,” said Peter Frans, project manager for Siemens.

“This is why Nexans, when participating in such projects, ensures that its customers’ evolving needs are continuously met, both in terms of cable manufacturing and delivery,” said a company spokesman.

The approach requires a thorough planning effort and close collaboration with the customer, as defined in a charter which provides a collaboration guide for all project phases, from contract signing to work completion.

“Nexans showed high flexibility, with guaranteed 24-hour delivery of cables to site. Such flexibility enabled us to address the issue of limited on-site storage capacity. The predefined volume and the storage of cables by Nexans for subcontractors made it possible for us to meet very tight deadlines,” said Mr. Frans.

A new “economic channel”
BioWanze recently completed its first bioethanol delivery. The project will create a “new economic channel” for agriculture, with approximately 10,000 Belgian farms involved in supplying wheat and beet to the plant. The project developers say they will first turn to farmers in the Hesbignon region, where there are around 4,000 farms, but if the contribution is not enough, they will also call on suppliers in France and in Germany.

The company says the new plant will lead to the creation of about 100 jobs in Wanze, and several hundred indirect jobs in transport, maintenance, and logistics,


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